just On Call - US: Coca-Cola Enterprises predicts difficult Q2

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Coca-Cola Enterprises has said that it expects to face continued pressure over volumes in the second quarter of 2012.


The company reported a 0.5% slip in volumes in its Q1 results released earlier today (26 April), despite a slight increase in overall profits and an EPS jump of 9%. Looking to Q2, bad weather in the UK in April, combined with issues over French excise tax and increased operating expenses ahead of a summer of big European events will further squeeze volumes, the company said.

“We expect volume to be challenged in the second quarter,” said Coca-Cola Enterprises CEO John Brock in a conference call with investors.

“April [weather] has not been great so already we are off to a slow start.”

Brock outlined several new initiatives, including a focus on caffeine-free drinks and a tie-in with the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. He also said that the Capri-Sun, Oasis and Powerade brands would get new flavours and packaging.

However, European group president Hubert Patricot said that this year's summer selling season is “essential” for the company to stay on track for its 2012 outlook of earnings per diluted common share growth of about 10%. 

The company said it is poised to take advantage of events including the Queen's diamond jubilee and London Olympics in the UK as well as the Euro 2012 football tournament.

“We have an incredible marketing plan for Great Britian to capture market share,” Patricot said, adding that he is “guardedly optimistic” that France will have full-year growth despite the excise tax change, which took effect on 1 January.

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