Thursday 13 February 2020 9:19 am

Sweet results for Coca-Cola bottler as it reports increased profit

Bottler Coca-Cola HBC delivered full year revenue growth in every segment last year as operating profit grew more than 10 per cent to €715.3m.

The figures

Operating profit grew 11.9 per cent last year from €639.4m to €715.3m. 

Revenue for the full year grew by 4.4 per cent and revenue in the fourth quarter grew 7.4 per cent, which partially offset the impact of poor weather in the second and third quarter. 

Volume grew in all segments, up 3.3 per cent for the year, showing strong acceleration in the fourth quarter, which was up 8.3 per cent. 

The board proposes an ordinary dividend of €0.62 per share, an 8.8 per cent increase on 2018. 

The company forecasts faster growth in volume across its segments in 2020. 

Read more: Coca-Cola prioritises environment and health in a bid to satisfy customers

Why it’s interesting

Shares rose more than 4 per cent in morning trading to £2,921. 

The company said that all market segments delivered full year revenue growth.

Its established segment grew 1.3 per cent fuelled by an ongoing strong performance in Italy, while its developing market grew 4.2 per cent. Demand in emerging markets like Nigeria and Romania helped its operating profit rise 11.9 per cent for the year. 

Coca-Cola said in December 2019 in conjunction with The Coca-Cola Company it acquired Acque Minerali and it has begun working on the integration.

Jefferies analysts Edward Mundy and Elsa Hannar said: “Guidance outlook is upbeat given good macro, confidence of volume acceleration and operating leverage. Shape of growth will differ versus current Street expectations (more volume, less price/mix) but overall we would see 5 per cent organic sales growth as realistic, with upside if the summer delivers.”

Read more: Coca-Cola toasts vintage 2019 as drinks maker beats expectations

What Coca-Cola HBC said

Chief executive Zoran Bogdanovic said:

“2019 was another year of strong growth with the business recording its highest ever volume and comparable EBIT. I am particularly pleased with how we finished the year, following the unseasonable weather we faced in Q2 and Q3. We drove growth across all three market segments as well as in our three largest markets of Russia, Italy and Nigeria. Our core sparkling category continues to grow, supported by momentum in low- and no- sugar variants and we continue to gain or maintain share in the majority of our markets. We were recognised by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as Europe’s most sustainable beverage company for the sixth time in seven years. We enter 2020 with considerable momentum and exciting plans that include the roll-out of Costa Coffee in at least 10 of our markets. We are confident that we are well on track to deliver our 2020 commitments and to make solid progress on our 2025 growth agenda.”

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