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Coca-Cola HBC Hikes Dividend, Sees Strong Recovery After Virus Hit

Soft drink bottler Coca-Cola HBC on Thursday raised its dividend and said it expects 2021 revenue to bounce back strongly as at-home demand cushions a hit to consumption in hotels and restaurants during COVID-19 restrictions.

The upbeat outlook and payout increase vaulted the British company's shares to the top of the FTSE 100 index, where they traded 5% higher at £23.6 by 0836 GMT.

Out-Of-Home Channel

Still, virus curbs hammered its out-of-home channel, which makes up 40% of revenues, sending 2020 comparable net profit 17.4% lower to 431.4 million euros ($522.94 million).

"We expect to see a strong FX-neutral revenue recovery in 2021 on the back of gradual volume recovery against the COVID-19 impact in 2020... Performance in the at-home channel strengthened through the year," said the company, which bottles and sells Coca-Cola drinks in 28 countries.

It proposed a dividend of 0.64 euros per share for 2020, a 3.2% increase year-on-year.

The main U.S. company, Coca-Cola Co, forecast a return to organic revenue growth this year, betting vaccine rollouts across the world will encourage consumers to return to cinemas and sporting events.

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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