Shares in Coca-Cola bottling colossus Coca-Cola HBC (CCH) fizzed 5% higher to £29.21 after the soft drinks giant served up strong full year results and said it recorded its highest ever volumes in 2019.
Growth accelerated to 7.4% through the fourth quarter, partially clawing back a weather-impacted summer, and Coca-Cola HBC expects the pace of volume growth to quicken this year.
Chief executive Zoran Bogdanovic said he was ‘particularly pleased’ with how Coca-Cola HBC finished the year following ‘the unseasonable weather we faced in Q2 and Q3. We drove growth across all three market segments as well as in our three largest markets of Russia, Italy and Nigeria.’
Bogdanovic said his charge enters 2020 with ‘considerable momentum’ and in a juicy outlook statement, Coca-Cola HBC enthused: ‘We expect a faster pace of volume growth across each of the three segments relative to what we have seen in 2019’, particularly so for its established and developing markets businesses, which were ‘primarily affected by poor summer weather in 2019’.
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As Shares explained in a recent in-depth feature, Coca-Cola HBC offers one way to harness the enduring power of the world’s most recognisable soft drinks brand, beloved by legendary investor Warren Buffett. It is a leading bottler for New York-listed The Coca-Cola Company with annual revenue north of €7bn.
Making, packaging and distributing finished soft drinks on behalf of the brand-owning The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola HBC boasts a broad geographic footprint with operations in 28 countries serving a population of more than 600m people.
‘Our core sparkling category continues to grow,’ added Bogdanovic, ‘supported by momentum in low-and no-sugar variants and we continue to gain or maintain share in the majority of our markets.’
Bogdanovic explained the beverages behemoth’s exciting plans include the roll-out of Costa Coffee ‘in at least 10 of our markets. We are confident that we are well on track to deliver our 2020 commitments and to make solid progress on our 2025 growth agenda.’
The other Coke play on the UK stock market is rival bottling business Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP). Shares in the globe’s biggest Coca-Cola bottler by revenue rose 1.9% to €49.4 today following its own robust full year and forecast-beating fourth quarter figures.