Coca-Cola HBC posts first profit in three years

Swiss-based Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, the world’s No 2 bottler of Coca-Cola, posted a 3 percent rise in 2013 profit on Friday, the first in three years, as cost cutting more than offset soft demand for its beverages.

The company said net profit, excluding restructuring and other one-off items, rose to 293 million euros last year above an average forecast of 279 million euros in a recent Reuters poll.

CCHBC buys syrup concentrate from Coca-Cola and then bottles and distributes the US group’s drinks in 28 countries in Europe and Nigeria.

Volume dropped 1 percent to 2.061 billion unit cases, at the high end of market expectations, as austerity in Greece and Italy was partly offset by growth in emerging markets, such as Russia and Nigeria.

“Based on these results and against the backdrop of continuing economic difficulties and volatility in our territories, we are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead,” CCHBC’s Chief Executive Dimitris Lois said in a statement.