Cott swings back to profits in 2009

Cott swings back to profits in 2009

Soft drinks group Cott Corporation has said the US market will be a priority for the firm in 2010.

Cott said this morning (24 February) that it swung to full-year profits of US$81.5m in 2009, from a loss of $122.8m in 2008.

However, North America filled beverage case volume for the year declined 1.2% to 574.2m cases. Revenue decreased 0.3% for the region, but increased 0.9% excluding the impact of foreign exchange.

Speaking at the firm’s earnings call today, CEO Jerry Fowden told analysts that Cott has “a long long way to go” to replicate Canada’s sales in the US.

“It is a priority for us. We’ve expanded our footprint to four locations and have run product on our new energy line… and we have gained new listings for energy in the US that will come through in quarter one and quarter two. Some of those listings will be rolled out to around 1,000 outlets.”

He added: “We have adjusted our outlook in the US, we’ve gained new listings, but we have put everything on a line to be successful there. It is a very good category (energy) and fundamentally is still unexploited in the US.”

Sales for the period declined 3.1%, but increased 2.4% excluding the impact of foreign exchange.

Fowden said the company is now in a “much more stable position” going forward.

“We have done a good job in getting our business back on track, we have a focused organisation now…customer relationships are improved and our margins are in an exceptional place,” he said.

“We’ve got our margins in a sensible place now…there may be some odd lumps and bumps in there going forward…I think on the whole, keeping our margins where they were in 2009 will be realistic.”