Soft drink bottler Coca-Cola HBC reported slightly higher-than-expected quarterly revenue growth, driven by higher volumes which were up 4.2%.
Third-quarter revenue rose 2.6% to €1.87 billion, while analysts, on average, were expecting €1.86 billion.
Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue rose 4.5%, with the bulk of the growth coming from volume gains. Higher prices contributed only 0.3% to the increase.
The company blamed the timing of planned promotions for a slowdown in pricing, and said it should accelerate in the current fourth quarter.
Sugar Tax & Consumer Demands
“We are pleased with how our actions are positioning the business to successfully capture growth opportunities in our markets. Our product portfolio is evolving to meet changing consumer preferences, and by partnering with customers we are strengthening our route to market,” Zoran Bogdanovic, CEO of Coca-Cola HBC, said.
The group said that it was particularly pleased with its performance given the mixed weather trends and tough comparatives against the prior-year quarter.
In the Republic and North of Ireland, the group said that its sparkling drinks and energy drinks were the main driver of its 0.7% volume growth as the two countries implemented the sugar tax.
It said that the reaction from consumers was in line with its expectations as it saw a shift in volume towards low- and no-sugar variants.
It noted a reduction in volume in its juice and water drinks.
“We had a quarter of solid growth led by continued good progress in volumes against strong comparatives. As expected, the slowdown in price/mix growth primarily reflected the timing of planned pricing activity, and we expect an acceleration in the final quarter,” Bogdanovic added.
“October trading has been strong, and we look to the full year confident that 2018 will be another year of good growth in both revenue and margins.”
News by Reuters, edited by Checkout. Additional reporting by Aidan O'Sullivan Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.