Coca-Cola HBC is looking to make further acquisitions in the water and juice categories in Europe, its managing director said today (14 February).

Doros Constantinou declared the target as he reported the company's financial figures for 2006.

"We are continuing to focus on expanding our non-carbonated soft drink portfolio through bolt-on acquisitions," Constantinou said.

"We are interested in acquiring a water source in Russia and the Ukraine and local juice producers in Italy, central Europe and the Ukraine. These are the countries where we are not present in these segments."

Coca-Cola HBC has been active on the acquisition front in the last 12 months. Last year, the Greece-based bottler bought Italian water business Fonti Del Vulture, Serbian juice group Fresh & Co. and Cypriot drinks firm Lanitis Bros.

The company, which has operations in 28 countries across Europe and Africa, saw operating profit jump 13% EUR569m (US$745m) during 2006.

Once contributions from its acquisitions were included in the figures, Coca-Cola HBC said profits rose 15%.

Sales rose 16% to EUR5.4bn on the back of an 11% increase in volumes, or 13% once acquisitions were factored into the figures.

In recent months, Coca-Cola HBC has revamped its distribution network in Italy and Constantinou said the company would look to enact similar changes in Greece, Austria and Switzerland.

He said: "There are certain challenges in Austria, Switzerland and Greece and we are looking at the right (distribution) models that we can implement."