US: Cott shows brave face to shareholders – report

By | 18 April 2008

Cott Corp. has reassured shareholders it will turnaround results despite the challenges that lie ahead.

Yesterday (17 April) Reuters cited Cott's interim chief executive David Gibbons at the company's AGM as saying that despite posting a steep loss and falling short of targets last year, he remains confident in the company's strategy.

Gibbons did, however, admit that market conditions such as rising commodity prices presented challenges. To combat this, Cott is said to be hedging, or taking fixed-cost positions, on materials such as aluminium. This summer, Cott's production lines will introduce new technology using lightweight bottles in an effort to trim costs and improve profit margins further.

Gibbons added: "I think we have done a better job in the last 12 months of trying to keep up through price increases with the rise in cost of the commodities. There were a couple of years previous where we did not."

Earlier this year Wal-Mart stores in the US announced intentions to reduce shelf space for Cott's drinks. Despite this blow, Cott said: "Our team is working together with the Wal-Mart team and we are putting together a programme for the rest of the year."

In the fourth quarter of 2007, Cott lost US$76.8m, or $1.07 a share.

Gibbon said: "I'll work very hard to restore our credibility. We do have a very strong base with which to build upon. It's not going to be easy, but I am looking forward to great things from Cott."

First-quarter results for the troubled company will be posted on 1 May.

Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

Companies: Cott

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