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Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated has reported higher earnings for 2005 as growing sales across the business offset rising costs.

Coke Consolidated, the second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the US, today (23 February) posted a 5% rise in net income for the year to US$21.8m. Net sales were up 11% to US$1.4bn.

The company had seen sales rise across its portfolio but president and COO William B. Elmore pointed to a notable rise from its energy drinks stable.

"The company experienced positive bottle and can volume growth in 2005 across all of its key product categories," adding that he was "eagerly anticipating" launches of a slew of new products including Tab Energy, Coca-Cola Blak and Black Cherry Vanilla Coke.

Coke Consolidated saw fuel and packaging costs rise last year but chairman and CEO J. Frank Harrison III said he was encouraged by the company's top line performance.

"Despite these significant cost challenges, we are encouraged by the improvement in revenue in both the fourth quarter and full year 2005. Average revenue per case increased by approximately 4.5% and 3%, in the fourth quarter and full year 2005, respectively, versus the same periods a year ago."


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