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Coronavirus

Coca-Cola HBC Sees Signs Of Recovery After First-Half Profits Slide

Soft drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC AG posted a drop in first-half profit due to the coronavirus-led closures of restaurants, cinemas and other public places, while saying sales had recovered some momentum from April lows as lockdowns eased.

The company, which bottles and sells Coca-Cola drinks in 28 countries, said comparable operating profit fell 35.8% to €208.8 million for the six months ended 26 June, beating company-supplied consensus of €191.7 million.

The company said out-of-home volumes – which include sales at hotels, restaurants and cafes – during the initial weeks of lockdowns fell by 70%-90% but improved to declines of 25%-50% in May and June and 10%-40% in July.

The company's out-of-home channel typically accounts for slightly over 40% of its revenue.

'Positive Attitude'

Commenting on its performance, Zoran Bogdanovic, chief executive, praised what he described as employees' "positive attitude and agility during this fast-changing time".

The Zug, Switzerland-based company said its retail sales improved since April, when performance was hit by some customer de-stocking.

HBC said it expects a negative impact for 2020 due to weaker consumer environment and tourist season, as well as the risk of a second coronavirus wave.

'Decisive Action'

"Our fast, decisive actions ensured that our supply chain was uninterrupted, and our profitability protected during a very challenging Q2," Bogdanovic added

"Our strong performance on market share clearly demonstrates the power of our portfolio of brands and execution in the market; we will capitalise on this advantage now that we are seeing early signs of recovery. Coca‑Cola HBC is a resilient business, well-positioned to adapt as markets reopen, emerge even stronger and win in the new normal.“

U.S.-based Coca-Cola Co owns a 23.2% stake in Coca-Cola HBC, according to Refinitiv data.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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