just On Call - Coca-Cola Enterprises boss keeps faith with sparkling beverages
CCE is confident of a better 2013
The CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has argued that "sparkling" beverages is a “great category” that will return to growth in 2013.
During a conference call with analysts today (7 February), John Brock said that if last year's bad weather stays away he is confident sparkling drinks, or CSDs, can shake off a recent malaise. The category posted a 3.5% volumes drop in CCE's full-year figures, released today, and a 5.5% Q4 volumes fall, hampered by record rainfall across Europe.
Other soft drinks companies that serve Europe also saw volumes decreases last year because of the weather, including Britvic in the UK and Ireland.
“We're not expecting spectacular weather (this summer),” Brock. “We're hoping for a normal one.”
He added: “We remain convinced the sparkling category is and will be a growth category for the future. Clearly there are macroeconomic issues, but it doesn't matter. We are in a great category and we think it'll return to growth in 2013 and beyond.”
Brock also said it is unlikely the French Government will repeal its excise tax rise on soft drinks, implemented last year. CCE has blamed the tax for hampering growth in France last year, but said the hike is now behind the company and expects the market to return to normal. He said that while CCE lost European market share in volume and value last year, France gained volume share.
Energy drinks were a high point for CCE, gaining a 1% volume and value share. The category was up by 15% in CCE's full-year results compared to last year.
“It's still a relatively small part of our portfolio, around 3% but it continues to perform well,” Hubert Patricot, executive VP & president of CCE's European group, said. “We are encouraged that it will continue to grow at the same speed in 2013.”
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