Coca-Cola posts modest sales growth in full-year results

Coca-Cola, the world's biggest soft-drinks maker, posted modest gains in net sales revenue over the full year as unit case volumes declined in established markets and it warned of continued volatility in its Italian market.

Coca-Cola, the world's biggest soft-drinks maker, posted modest gains in net sales revenue over the full year as unit case volumes declined in established markets and it warned of continued volatility in its Italian market.

The company reported a 3.0% rise in net sales revenue to €7,045m and a 6.0% increase in goods sold to €4,518m over the full year.

Volume grew by 2.0% in the fourth quarter of 2012. However, an 8.0% volume increase in emerging markets and a 1.0% volume increase in emerging markets were partly offset by a 5.0% volume decline in established markets.

Weakness in all key categories in Greece and a decline in sparkling beverages in Italy were the key drivers of the volume decline in the established markets segment during the quarter, the group reported.

Volume in Italy declined by mid-single digits in the fourth quarter, reflecting the increasing weakness in underlying economic and trading conditions. The company said that austerity measures were negatively affecting disposable income and unemployment continued to rise.

"We expect volatility to continue, particularly in view of the upcoming elections in February and the further one percentage point VAT increase in July," the company said.

Comparable operating profit in the established markets segment declined to €13m in the fourth quarter and €160m in the full year 2012.

"Lower volume, increased raw material costs and negative category mix more than offset the improvement in price mix and the benefits from our restructuring initiatives, which resulted in lower operating expenses in the fourth quarter, as well as the full year," the company results explained.

MF

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