Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated has seen its full-year profits fall by over 8% in 2006.

Coke Consolidated, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, said yesterday (28 February) that its operating profit for last year fell 8.1% to US$84.7m. Sales, however, rose by over 3% to US$1.4bn.

The Coca-Cola bottler had worked to increase prices and reduce costs following what it described as a "disappointing" third quarter of 2006, a quarter in which net income slumped 44%.

Chairman and CEO J. Frank Harrison III said fourth-quarter operating income had risen by 17% on the year due to "significant efforts" to reduce costs. He added: "Our increased focus on resource efficiency will be extremely important heading into 2007 as we anticipate an unprecedented increase in raw material costs."

Last month, Coke Consolidated said it would cut some 50 to 100 jobs to drive efficiency across the business.

The company is also looking to reduce its reliance on a stagnant carbonates sector in the US. Last year, Coke Consolidated set up BYB Inc., a stand-alone business formed to produce non-carbonated products.

BYB has enjoyed success with its fledgling RTD latte brand Cinnabon and last month secured a major US distribution deal with two Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages bottlers for the brand.