The investment bank, Merrill Lynch, has downgraded shares in the soft drinks group, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (CCHBC), from "buy" to "neutral" following a 39% rise in the value of the stock from March.

"Even with the €2.0 dividend payout, the valuation, the change in managing director and the prospective overhang post the 12-month lockout leaves us doubtful that returns can exceed the 20% required to maintain a buy recommendation," said Merrill analyst, Michael Harris.