US: Coca-Cola Enterprises ups 2007 FY target
Coca-Cola Enterprises has raised its forecasts for this year, and believes 2008 should bring a high single-digit increase in revenue.
The Coca-Cola marketer, distributor and producer said today (12 December) that 2007 should generate comparable earnings per diluted share of between US$1.36 and $1.39, a lift from the $1.31 to $1.36 range forecast for 2007 in October.
The revision reflected "accelerated benefits from our restructuring and operating expense initiatives, portfolio expansion, balanced growth in Europe, and a favourable tax outlook", CCE said.
North America will generate full-year results that include a low single-digit volume decline, mid single-digit pricing per case growth, and high single-digit cost of goods per case growth. In Europe, full-year 2007 volume, pricing per case, and cost of goods per case each will increase in a low single-digit range.
Looking to 2008, the company said results will reflect "the positive revenue impact of the increased volume and changing mix in North America related to the full-year distribution of Glacéau, Fuze, and Campbell's".
Pending additional investment against sparkling brands and operations will partially offset the benefits of the revenue increase, CCE warned.
Operating income will increase at the high end of the long-term target range of 5% to 6%, and earnings per diluted share will be in line with the long-term objective of high single-digit growth.
"Overall, our operating results have improved, we continue to achieve strong free cash flow, and our continued debt reduction efforts have been successful," said company president and CEO, John Brock. "This performance, coupled with our outlook for increased growth in 2008, provides us the flexibility to return additional cash to our shareowners.
"We are evaluating options and will confirm our plans during the first half of next year."
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