ECONOMY

Improving European markets boost Coke bottler

improving-european-markets-boost-coke-bottler

Soft drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC’s sales volumes in its established Western European markets rose last year for the first time in five years, it said on Friday, citing gains in Italy and Greece.

The European company, which bottles and sells Coca-Cola drinks in 28 countries including Russia, Ukraine and Nigeria, also forecast 2016 volume growth and substantial improvement in revenue per case, excluding foreign currency effects exchange, for all three of its market segments – established, developing and emerging.

Credit Suisse analysts described the outlook as relatively upbeat and said that the bottler’s 2015 earnings per share were 2 percent above expectations.

Shares in the company, which started life in Greece in 1969 but has moved its headquarters to Switzerland and its stock listing to London, rose 4 percent in morning trade.

Revenue for 2015 fell 2.5 percent to 6.35 billion euros.

Foreign exchange rates reduced revenue by 5.1 percentage points, the company said, citing the weakening of currencies such as the Russian ruble.

[Reuters]