Embotelladora Andina, the Chilean bottler, yesterday posted a drop in net profit for Q4. The company, one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers in South America, saw net profit fall by 10.3% in the fourth quarter of 2003, to $12.4m from $13.8m year-on-year. The company blamed financial losses caused by the appreciation of the Chilean peso.

In 2003, the Chilean peso strengthened by about 20%, and by 11.5% in the fourth quarter alone. In a statement, Andina said that the stronger currency "had a negative impact on our results due to the company's dollar net asset position."

Although profit fell for the bottler, net sales climbed by 8.1% year-on-year as total volumes increased by 5.1% and the company raised its prices in Argentina and Brazil. Operating profit consequently rose by 36.4% to $39.4m.

For the year, Andina's net profit fell to $26.5m thanks to the appreciation of the Chilean peso and the comparative effects of a $15.3m one-time profit in 2002 from an asset sale.