Coca-Cola bottler shrugs off flat sales and narrows losses

City A.M. Reporter
COCA-COLA Hellenic Bottling Company, the world’s second-biggest bottler of Coca-Cola, yesterday posted flat sales volumes in the first quarter as strong growth in Russia was offset by weaker demand in austerity-hit EU countries.

The bottler, which last month moved its primary share listing from Athens to London, said sales volume was 426.7m units cases in the first quarter versus an average analysts’ forecast of 426m. First quarter traditionally accounts for a small part of CCHBC’s full-year profit.

Volumes of sparkling drinks rose 10 per cent in emerging markets, offsetting a five per cent fall in more established markets. Coca-Cola Zero performed particularly well in most geographies, with overall volumes up 10 per cent.

CCHBC also posted a slightly narrower loss of €15.9m (£13.4m) from €19.1m in the same period last year, helped by a slower rise in raw material prices and benefits from cost savings.

Revenues were broadly flat at €1.43bn.

“For the remainder of 2013, we anticipate that economic and trading conditions will remain challenging, particularly in our established markets,” said chief executive Dimitris Loid in a statement.

The group’s London-listed shares rose 2.5 per cent to 27.61p yesterday.