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Strong third quarter for Coca-Cola Consolidated as US soft drinks interest rebounds - results data

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  • Third-quarter sales rise 4.5% to US$1.33bn
  • Strong three months build on slower first-half growth of 1%
  • First nine months of 2020 up 2.2% at S$3.73bn
  • Volumes lift in Q3 of 3.9% and of 3.4% in year-to-date

The thirst for soft drinks in the US appears to have returned in the third quarter of this year, with Coca-Cola Consolidated posting a healthy rise in sales following a sluggish half-year.

Three months after reporting a 1% top-line increase from the first six months of this year, the company, which is the largest US bottler in the Coca-Cola system, saw its sales in the three months to the end of September climb by 4.5%. Not only did the group have a strong top-line in the quarter, but the performance also came on the back of a slower volumes rise, of just under 4%.

While value outpaced volumes in the three-month period, which signifies that less product is being sold for more money, Coca-Cola Consolidated highlighted an "especially strong" showing for multi-serve PET packages. Despite this, "price realisation" in the company's 'sparkling' drinks grouping drove a combined increase in sales from the CSD portfolio of 7%. 'Still' beverages grew 6%, but Coca-Cola Consolidated's fountain syrup operations continued to have a tough year thanks to outlet closures in the US brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Sales from the business were down in Q3 by 35.2% and by 33.8% for the year-to-date.

A note of caution from this week's results, however: The rate of volumes increases eased as the third quarter progressed, with July's +10.3% preceding a flat August (-0.4%) and a slower September, at +2.2%.

CEO Frank Harrison

"Based on the strength of our year-to-date results and our outlook for the remainder of the year, we are moving forward with a number of large capital projects designed to increase our manufacturing capacity, expand key warehouses and improve the use of automation and technology within our business.

"My family has been a Coca-Cola bottler for over 118 years and our long-term view of this business enables us to look past the business volatility and economic uncertainty we are currently facing. We are confident that the operating and reinvestment decisions we are making this year will strengthen the long-term health of our business by supporting future growth and making our operations more efficient and effective."

For the first nine months of this year, the group saw its sales come in 2.2% up on the corresponding period last year.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co Consolidated 2020 - Sales versus 2019

Source: Company results

To access Coca-Cola Consolidated's official third-quarter and year-to-date results announcement, click here.

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