Coca-Cola HBC sees tepid growth in nine months

Coca-Cola HBC, the parent company of the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), with operations in 27 other European countries, said it posted a 2.6% revenue growth in the third quarter of 2018 to €1.87bn and 1.2% sales rise in nine months to €5.09bn.

The company said that the growth was driven by a 4.2% volume growth in Q3 and 4.4% rise in volumes in the nine months across its geographic segments, with the strongest growth coming from developing markets, where it recorded 11.3% volume growth in the third quarter and 9.8% volume rise in nine months. The growth in developing markets was driven by strong performance in Poland, helped by good summer weather and favourable macroeconomic environment. Other factors include double-digit growth of sparkling in all brands, as well as water. Net sales in developing markets grew by 12.4%.

Emerging markets volumes grew by 4.1%, with positive performance from every market in the segment. Net sales revenue grew 1.1% in the third quarter and -1.8% in the nine months.

Nigeria saw volume growth in the mid-single digits, with double-digit volume growth in water and juice, offset partly by modest declines in sparkling. The company said that the Nigerian consumer continues to be under pressure in a weak economic environment, adding that under those circumstances, the flexibility it has to adjust the brand, price and pack architecture allows it to address affordability needs and adapt to strong competitive pressure. The firm said that it saw a rapid acceleration in Coke Zero volume in Q3, which has a more affordable price point than Coke Regular, and it also saw growth from the 35cl ‘solo’ bottle.

Established market volumes grew marginally by 0.5% in the nine months, with flat sales.

Looking forward to the rest of the year, the company said that the month of October has been strong and it looks to the full year with confidence that 2018 will be another year of good growth in both revenue and margins.

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