• Q1 net losses hit EUR19m (US$24.6m) compared to EUR1m a year earlier
  • Net sales rise 1% to EUR1.44bn
  • Operating profits drop from EUR27.7m to EUR1.6m loss
  • Company says consumer confidence will remain weak throughout 2012
Coca-Cola Hellenic is braced for a difficult 2012

Coca-Cola Hellenic is braced for a difficult 2012

Coca-Cola Hellenic has posted increased losses in its first quarter as European markets remained volatile.

The Greece-based company said earlier today (10 May) that losses in the first three months of 2012 totalled EUR19m (US$24.6) compared to EUR1m losses a year earlier. Although net sales rose by 1% to EUR1.44bn, volumes shrank by 2%, leading to an operational loss of EUR1.6m compared to a EUR27.7 profit a year earlier.

Coca-Cola products grew ahead of total volume, with Coca-Cola Zero volume growing 10%. However, volume in the water and juice categories declined by 6% and 5%, respectively.

“We continue to witness macroeconomic uncertainty in all of our EU markets,” said Coca-Cola Hellenic CEO Dimitris Lois. “We are also facing persistent input cost pressures, whose year on year growth peaked in the first quarter.”

The company said it maintained or grew volumes in most of its markets, however in its home market of Greece, volumes decreased in the high teens as the country's austerity measure dug in.

Volumes in Russia grew in the mid-single digits, driven by 20% growth for Coca-Cola regular, its sixth consecutive quarter of growth in the country. Coca-Cola Hellenic (CCH) said it saw higher consumer confidence in the country compared to the EU average.

Extreme cold weather hit a number of markets in the three-month period, including Ukraine and Belarus, although Poland, which was also affected by the cold, grew in the mid-single digits, the company said.

Volumes in Nigeria declined in the low double-digits in the first quarter due to political and social instability in the north, nation-wide strikes in January, and the government’s decision to gradually abolish fuel subsidies, the company said.

CCH's share price stood at $18.26 at yesterday's close.

At the end of March, the company said it was changing its internal corporate structure.

For the company's official Q1 announcement, click here.