Merrill Lynch has downgraded its recommendation on Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. (CCHBC).

The broker said yesterday (15 January) that it has reduced its recommendation to 'neutral', adding that, while it viewed the company's long-term prospects positively, the valuation was now full.

Merrill Lynch has predicted that CCHBC will continue to manifest strong growth in the mid-term on the back of its exposure to central and Eastern Europe.

This year, the outlook for CCHBC's production costs is more balanced than that of its European peers, and the bottler will see the first advantages of the European Union sugar market reform from the last quarter of this year, added the broker.