ECONOMY

CCHBC posts loss in fourth quarter 2006

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (CCHBC), the world’s second-largest Coke bottler outside the USA, said yesterday it had a fourth-quarter net loss of -6.6 million ($8.64 million) due to cost pressures and charges. The company had recorded a profit of -7.6 million in the three months to December 31, 2006. Revenues rose 20 percent to -1.32 billion ($1.73 billion) from -1.11 billion a year earlier. Earnings were lower than analysts’ expectations of a 26 percent rise in net profits, but above expectations of a 11.3 percent rise in net sales revenues. The company said higher sugar and aluminium prices weighed on profits last year. «On a currency neutral basis, the underlying cost of goods sold per unit case increased by approximately 5 percent in 2006 versus the previous year, driven by higher raw material costs, primarily sugar and aluminium,» a company statement said. The Coca-Cola Co also reported earnings yesterday, posting a 22 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit to $678 million on a 7 percent gain in sales. That came a day after its largest bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises, reported a $1.7 billion loss for the fourth quarter and said it would cut about 3,500 jobs, or 4.7 percent of its work force. (AP)