Preview: Wimm-Bill-Dann Q1
Wimm-Bill-Dann's first quarter results this week should give an indication of consumer confidence in Russia.
The Russian juice, dairy and babyfood giant will report Q1 earnings on Wednesday (18 June), following a turbulent period for Russia's economy.
Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said today in an interview with China's state-controlled tv network, incidentally named CCTV, that Russia's gross domestic product (GDP) could shrink by up to 6% in 2009. The figure is in-line with International Monetary Fund estimates.
The country's GDP fell by 9.5% in the first quarter of the year.
Russia, not so long ago an emerging market darling for drinks companies of all persuasions, has fallen from grace in the global economic downturn - clobbered, among other things, by a collapse in the oil price and the flight of foreign investment.
Several beverage firms, from Diageo to Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co have lamented poor consumer confidence in the country, which has prompted destocking and so falling sales. Coca-Cola Hellenic saw first quarter volumes fall by 15%.
However, you would be hard-pressed to deduce such a tough sales climate from a glance at Wimm-Bill-Dann's stock movements.
The group has seen its share price rise from around US$30 at the beginning of March to more than $60 at the beginning of trading today on the New York Stock Exchange.
Wimm-Bill-Dann sales fell by 7% in the fourth quarter of 2008, but were held up by rises earlier in the year, including a 34% jump in the first quarter.
The first quarter of 2009 will almost certainly prove to have been tough, but the company does not look to be in bad financial shape to take advantage of any signs of recovery on the Russian market.
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