• First quarter net losses of US$3.9m
  • Net sales slip 6% to $475.1m
  • Operating profits (EBITDA) drop 15% to $34m  
  • Volumes drop by 5% 
Cott had warned it was facing a "challenging" 2014

Cott had warned it was facing a "challenging" 2014

Cott Corp has recorded first-quarter losses of US$3.9m after a drop in sales, but is eyeing acquisitions as it looks to diversify. 

The North American private label CSD producer said today (7 May) that net losses in the three months to the end of March were US$3.9m. Profits in last year’s Q1 came in at zero.

Sales in this year’s first quarter fell by 6% to $475.1m, as volumes slid by 5%. Adjusted operating profits fell by 15% to $34m, the company said.

Jerry Fowden, Cott's CEO, had warned previously of a "challenging" 2014

Today, he said: "The CSD market continued to decline during the quarter, which alongside deeply discounted national brand promotional activity, adversely affected volumes and margins."

The group’s North American volumes fell by 10% in the quarter. However volumes in the UK rose by 9%, while sales climbed by 19% to $116m helped by extra sales from Cotts’s Calypso business, the company said.

Looking ahead, Fowden indicated the group is planning acquisitions.  “Having now achieved our debt reduction targets, we plan to accelerate the diversification of our business via acquisitions in both beverage and beverage adjacencies, as well as increase our return of funds to shareholders over the next 12 months,” he said. 

Cott declared a dividend of $0.06 per common share payable on 18 June, to shareholders of record on 6 June.

The group’s board of directors has also approved the renewal of a share repurchase programme, which “gives management the authority to opportunistically repurchase up to 5% of Cott's outstanding common shares over a 12-month period”.

To read the company's full statement, click here.