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A-Brands

Coca-Cola HBC Mulls Options For Russian Business, Q1 Sales Up

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Coca-Cola HBC Mulls Options For Russian Business, Q1 Sales Up

Soft drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC has said it will evaluate all options for its Russian operations and have a smaller presence in the country, focussing on local brands, after US beverage giant Coca-Cola suspended operations there.

The bottler, which counted Russia as one of its biggest markets, said it was still in the process of implementing the decision by Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola HBC is one of Coca-Cola's many bottlers worldwide and holds local Coca-Cola franchises to bottle and sell drinks produced by the beverage giant. Coca-Cola holds a roughly 21% stake in Coca-Cola HBC.

The company, whose annual outlook remains withdrawn, said it has stopped placing orders for concentrate in Russia and ceased investments in the market.

First-Quarter Performance

The London-listed company said organic revenue in the first quarter rose 25.9%, excluding Russia and Ukraine.

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The Switzerland-headquartered company said it increased prices in the quarter to help manage rising input cost inflation, and that has not negatively impacted volumes.

Commenting, chief executive Zoran Bogdanovic said that the company delivered "strong top line growth" in the quarter, which was "well balanced" between volume and revenue per case.

Volume growth in the quarter stood at 11.3%.

Egypt Addition

Bogdanovic also cited a number of highlights during the quarter, including the addition of Egypt to its operations, a 'strong' performance from its Sparkling and Energy businesses, and an acceleration in market share.

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"We have high confidence in our portfolio, evolving route to market, customer-focused commercial strategy, the potential of our diverse markets, and above all, the capability of our people," he said.

"We remain agile as we prioritise our investments, with discipline, across the rest of our markets to continue to drive sustainable growth despite the uncertain environment.”

News by Reuters, edited by ESM – your source for the latest A-Brands news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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