Thursday 2 May 2019 1:25 pm

Coca-Cola bottler sees strong first quarter growth

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Coca-Cola HBC AG – the world's third-largest bottler of the drink – today announced solid first quarter performance for 2019, as well as a special dividend for investors.

Overall sales revenue rose 4.7 per cent to €1.41 bn (£1.21 bn) in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2018, with the biggest gains seen in emerging markets at 6.9 per cent.

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The emerging market growth was driven by strong improvement in Russia, Nigeria, Romania and Ukraine.

The company’s board also proposed a special dividend of €2.00 per share – to total around €730m – in recognition of a number of years of strong performance and good progress towards 2020 targets for growth.

Chief Executive Zoran Bogdanovic said the giveaway was reflective of “confidence in the future and our commitment to creating value for our shareholders”.

Shares in the Switzerland-based but FTSE 100-listed company rose 1.76 per cent to 2,772p.

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Coca-Cola HBC AG is one of several so-called “anchor” bottlers, who buy a concentrated syrup from the Atlanta-headquartered Coca-Cola company to then bottle and sell on in their exclusive territories as part of a franchised distribution model for the drink.