ECONOMY

Coke bottler profits fall 10 percent

Coca-Cola Hellenic (CCH), the world’s second-largest bottler of Coke products, reported a worse-than-expected drop of over 10 percent in 2008 net profits and declined to give targets for 2009, saying it would be meaningless. CCH said net profits fell to 425 million euros, well below the 468-million-euro figure analysts were expecting. Coca-Cola Hellenic said it would not be meaningful to provide any earnings forecasts for this year because of economic declines and fluctuating currencies. «We expect the business environment in 2009 to remain highly challenging,» said Doros Constantinou, CCH’s managing director, in a statement. «Given the recent significant volatility of currencies in many of our territories and frequent revisions to official economic forecasts, we do not believe it would be meaningful to provide an earnings outlook for 2009.» Shares in CCH tumbled 12.66 percent to 9.66 euros on the Athens bourse yesterday, underperforming a broader market decline of 5.19 percent.