Coca-Cola HBC today (16 May) posted a "solid" start to 2006 with volumes and earnings up during its first quarter.

CCHBC, one of the world's largest Coke bottlers, reported a 12% rise in underlying operating profits to EUR54m (US$69.2m). Net profit leapt 39% to EUR20m on the back of a 9% rise in volumes, which hit 340m cases.

Doros Constantinou, managing director of CCHBC, said: "I am pleased with our performance during the first three months of the year which reflects solid organic volume growth combined with favourable price mix.

"While the first quarter is typically a small one for our business, it was particularly encouraging to see volume improvement and pricing realisation in line with our expectations across most countries."

CCHBC said that volumes in its more "established" markets - mostly in Western Europe - were flat as "softness" in Switzerland offset rising sales in Greece.

However, the company fared better in its "developing" and "emerging" markets, which saw volumes rise 9% and 18% respectively. CCHBC noted strong showings across Central and Eastern Europe and pointed to rising volumes in newer markets like Russia and Romania.