Soft drinks bottler Coca-Cola Bottling Co. has reported net income of US$5.3m, or $0.58 per share, for the third quarter, up from $4.9m, or $0.54 per share, in the same period last year.

Net income for the first nine months of 2007 reached $21.6m, or $2.37 per share, up from $14.6m, or $1.61 per share, for the first nine months of 2006. Coca-Cola Bottling said the results for the first nine months of 2007 included an after-tax expense of $1.6m related to its previously announced restructuring.

Third-quarter sales fell from $370.63m to $367.36m, while for the nine-month period sales rose from $1.090bn to $1.095bn.

Operating income for the first nine months of the year increased by 12.4% to $73.28m but third-quarter operating income fell from $21.83m to $20.24m.

"Given the unprecedented increases in packaging and sweetener costs in 2007, we restructured our operations and focused on resource efficiency to drive down operating costs and to improve income from operations," said chairman and CEO J. Frank Harrison, III. "Operating expenses decreased 0.4% in the third quarter of 2007 and 0.8% during the first nine months of 2007 as compared to the same periods in 2006."

Harrison said that the company's focus on operating expenses had led to the improvement in income from operations seen over the first nine months.