US: Cott looking good going forward says chairman

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Cott Corporation's chairman and CEO Frank E. Weise told shareowners today at the company's annual meeting that Cott is delivering on its growth strategy going forward.

"Today, we have real accomplishments to speak of and we celebrate yet another year of record performance by the Cott team", Weise said.

He expanded on the company's growth strategies: "expand the core", "drive margins and cash flow", "make acquisitions and alliances", and "build world-class teams", saying that with these in place, Cott expects to see more wins in 2004.

John K. Sheppard, Cott's president, COO and incoming CEO, attributed the momentum retailer brands are experiencing to a strong commitment by retailers to their programs, as well as the company's "customer-centric" approach to the business. He said this approach allows the organisation to focus more resources around its customers to help them drive category growth.
Last week, Cott announced record sales and earnings per share for the first quarter ending 3 April. Sales in the first quarter were up by 26% to US$370.9m compared to $295.3m last year. Excluding the impact of acquisitions and foreign exchange, sales were up by 18%. Earnings per diluted share were $0.21, an increase of 40% from last year's reported $0.15.

This marked Weise's last annual meeting as chief executive officer. Sheppard will assume the role in September of this year while Weise remains chairman of Cott's board of directors with an active role in assisting management in long-term strategy, customer relations and investor relations.

"I leave the post knowing that we have strategies in place that deliver winning results," Weise added. "I thank our employees for the confidence they placed in me. They are truly responsible for the results we see today and outstanding reputation the company enjoys."

Sectors: Soft drinks

Companies: Cott Corporation

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