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Coca-Cola bottling firm returns to growth

February 19, 2016
Food & Drink

Bottling company Coca-Cola HBC has returned to growth in established markets for the first time in five years after its soft drinks sold well in Italy and Greece.

However, revenues for 2015 fell as the company took a big currency hit. It warned that trading remained tough in countries such as Russia, which has been hit hard by the collapse in the price of oil, its main export.

The company, which bottles and sells Coca-Cola in 28 countries, said the amount of drinks sold rose 2.6% last year, after a 2.8% decline in 2014.

Nigeria, Romania and Ukraine posted double-digit growth, against a mid-single-digit decline in Russia. But the company was hit by weakening currencies such as the Russian rouble and revenues dropped 2.5% to €6.35bn (£4.9bn). Net profits fell 4.5% to €280.3m.

The chief executive, Dimitris Lois, said: “Volumes grew in all segments for the first time in five years and margins have improved significantly. Conditions in Europe are slowly improving while countries with large oil exposure face ongoing difficult trading conditions. Going into 2016 we will continue to take action to address the challenges on a country by country basis.”

Sales volumes rose 1% in established markets last year, after a 5.4% decline in 2014. In developing markets, volumes grew by 5.7%, led by Poland and Hungary, against a 6% fall in 2014. Emerging markets saw 2.5% growth.

The company was set up as the Hellenic Bottling Company in Athens in 1969 but later moved its headquarters to Zug in Switzerland and its main stock market listing to London.

By Julia Kollewe

Source: The Guardian

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