Coca-Cola Icecek has posted a healthy set of results for its first quarter, and maintained an upbeat outlook on the full-year despite rising costs.

The Turkey-based company said late last week that sales in both volume and value terms increased in the three months to the end of March - by 15% to 91m unit cases and by 22% to TRY391m (US$318.9m) respectively. EBIT leapt by 98% to TRY29m, while EBITDA was up by 51% to TRY57m.

The bottler credited the strong showing in part to the launch of Coca-Cola Zero in Turkey in February. "Coca-Cola Zero ... was very well received by consumers and is already making significant progress across Turkey," said company CEO Michael O'Neill. "Encouraged by the Turkey experience we launched Coca-Cola Zero in Syria and Jordan in April."

While Coca-Cola Zero helped lift the quarter in Turkey, the company's International division saw consolidated sales volumes fall from 19.7% in the first quarter last year to 18.6% due to the lower increase in international sales volume primarily attributable to bad weather across Central Asia and economic slowdown in Kazakhstan.

"We forecast higher commodity prices in 2008 especially for cans, resin and sweetener but management believes that pricing realisation in line with plans will enable us to deliver another year of strong results," the company concluded.

Last week, Coca-Cola Icecek approved the acquisition of a 12.5% stake in Turkmenistan Coca-Cola Bottlers from Day Investments, which owns a total of 25%. CCI will pay US$2m for the shares and its current 33.25% share in TCCB will increase to 59.5%. The company also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of certain assets, licenses and rights relating to the water business of Sandras Natural Source Water Company, a Kalkavan Group company.