Coke bottler lowers guidance again

The Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC), the world’s second-largest Coke bottler, yesterday cut its 2008 targets for the second time this year, citing an economic downturn and poor weather conditions. Shares in CCHBC, which operates in 28 countries in Europe and Africa, tumbled 19.02 percent to 12.52 euros versus a 0.29 percent dip on the Athens bourse’s benchmark general index. «Following further economic deterioration and continued adverse weather in some key markets during the course of the third quarter, we are revising our full-year guidance,» CCHBC’s managing director, Doros Constantinou, said. The company said full-year earnings per share would be «broadly stable» from 1.30 euros in 2007, ditching its target of a 5 to 8 percent rise and that volume growth of around 4 percent is expected, down from the previous 6 percent forecast. The soft-drinks business around the world has been badly hit by signs of a global economic slowdown and rising oil prices, which have increased costs for companies and forced consumers to tighten their belts. «The new (CCHBC) guidance is below our forecasts. .. We plan to downgrade our estimates,» Proton Bank said in a note. «We remain cautious, given that the current conditions limit short-term visibility.»