GREECE: Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co H1 profits down

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Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co has reported a 4% drop in net profits for the first half of 2009, but saw earnings rise in the second quarter.

Net profits, excluding one-off charges, for the six months to the end of June fell to EUR200.7m (US$289m), compared to EUR209.6m in the same period of 2008, Coca-Cola Hellenic (CCHBC) said today (6 August). Operating profits fell 1% to EUR310m.

However, net earnings rose by 7% in the second quarter to EUR193.5m. Cost savings and lower commodity costs boosted earnings in the quarter, the Greece-based soft drinks bottler said.

Net sales slipped by 1% for the half-year, to EUR3.26bn, and dropped by 3% in the second quarter, due to a negative price mix. Volume sales rose by 2% for the six-month period, to EUR1.03bn unit cases.

"Challenging global economic conditions continued to impact negatively consumer spending and our sales volumes in the second quarter," said group managing director Doros Constantinou.

"However, we gained volume and value share in the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink category across many of our key markets in the first half of the year, which bears testament to our strong portfolio of products and marketplace execution."

The group reported a 10% volume sales decline in Russia for the first half, due to the effects on the global economic downturn on the country's consumers. Volumes fell by 15% in the first quarter, but the decline narrowed to 7% in the second three months.

The firm said that it expects trading in the second half to "remain challenging" across its markets.

During the half, CCHBC began restructuring in Ireland, Austria and Italy. The group has cut more than 4,500 jobs since the second quarter of 2008.

Last month, the bottler created the new role of chief operating officer.

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