Coca-Cola HBC raises annual earnings outlook


Coca-Cola HBC shares jump as FTSE 100 bottler boosts profit expectations after bumper first-half performance

  • Victoria Scholar: Coca-Cola HBC is ‘bucking broader market negativity’ 
  • The bottler now forecasts underlying earnings will grow by 9 to 12% in 2023 
  • Coca-Cola HBC shares were the FTSE 100’s top riser by early Friday afternoon

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company has upgraded its annual profits guidance after it continued to benefit from price hikes and strong demand in the first half. 

The FTSE 100-listed anchor bottler now forecasts organic earnings before interest and tax will increase by 9 to 12 per cent in 2023, having previously predicted profit before nasties of minus-3 to 3 per cent.

It attributed the new outlook to a ‘stronger than anticipated finish’ to the first half of the year, topped off with a ‘very good overall’ performance last month.

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company has upgraded its annual profits guidance as it continued to benefit from price hikes and strong demand for its drinks

The group also upheld its mid-term forecasts for 2024 and beyond of 6 to 7 per cent organic revenue growth and an average organic underlying earnings margin expansion of 20 to 40 basis points per year.

Coca-Cola HBC shares rose 4.5 per cent to £23.58 by early Friday afternoon, making them the top riser on the FTSE 100 Index.

Since the start of 2023, the firm’s share price has expanded by over a fifth, thanks to price increases offsetting the effects of rising energy and commodity costs.

Trading has further benefited from stronger sales across established and developing markets, and higher volumes of sparkling, energy and coffee drinks.

Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said the company is ‘bucking broader market negativity’ in comparison to Fevertree Drinks, which has been badly affected by glass shortages in the UK.

Headquartered in Switzerland but listed in London, Coca-Cola HBC sells dozens of brands ranging from Monster Energy to Costa Coffee, Fanta and Sprite across 29 countries.

The firm recently agreed to spend $220million (£172million) buying Brown-Forman Finland, the owner of premium vodka brand Finlandia.

It said the move would boost its premium spirits offering and enhance partnerships with customers in ‘strategically important’ industries, such as hotels, restaurants and caterers.

Finlandia, which is bottled by the Anora Group, was started in 1970 by Finland’s alcohol retailer monopoly Alko and was the first ever Nordic vodka brand to be imported to the US.

Three decades later, Brown-Forman, which owns whiskey labels Jack Daniels and Old Forester, acquired a 45 per cent stake in the brand as part of a deal that gave distribution rights outside Scandinavia and parts of Eastern Europe.

It bought an additional 35 per cent holding in 2002 before gaining complete control of Finlandia two years afterwards.

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