Embotelladora Andina has posted a marked drop in net profit for the first three months of 2008.

The Latin American Coca-Cola bottler, which operates in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, said today (29 April) that net profit for the first quarter fell by 13.4% on the corresponding period a year earlier, totalling CLP20.84bn (US$45.3m). Net sales in the period were flat, slipping 0.4% to CLP171.51bn. In volume terms, total sales rose by 5.7% to 120.6m unit cases.

Operating profit performed better, delivering a 5.1% lift to CLP32.6bn.

The appreciation of the Brazilian real and the Chilean peso "positively impacted operations at the local level", which had a positive impact on the company's dollar-denominated costs and also offset the price increase of commodities. The strong appreciation of the Chilean peso for the period, however, had a negative impact upon conversion of figures from the company's operations in Brazil and Argentina.

"We have begun year 2008 with results that met our expectations," said company CEO Jaime Garcia. "Our Chilean operation showed remarkable growth for a mature market, and in the Brazilian and Argentine operations we improved margins. The appreciation of the Chilean peso, on the other hand, had a significant impact upon translation of figures for the operations outside of Chile.

"We know that we will have to face certain challenges during this year, however, we remain optimistic and enthusiastic."