Russian rouble gives Coca-Cola FY results extra fizz
Coca-Cola HBC reported full year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 621m, a rise of 20% on net sales revenue of £6.5bn, up 4.9%.
Revenue was helped by the stronger Russian rouble. On a constant currency basis, revenue per case was up 3.6%, with positive contributions from price, category and package mix, Coca-Cola said.Profit before tax rose to 301.7m from 266.9m.
"Volume growth of 2.2% was broad based across the segments and improved as the year progressed, with the second half delivering better volume expansion than the first half," it added.
"Strong in-market execution, supported by an improving economic environment, resulted in excellent top-line growth and margin expansion in 2017. We are particularly pleased to have achieved revenue growth through a balanced delivery of both volume and price/mix," the company said.
It also reported a "rather unusual" currency tailwind worth 7.8m, given its operations in emerging companies, due to the rouble in 2017.
Free cash flow of 425.9m was generated during the year while capital expenditure as a percentage of revenue was up by 50 basis points to 5.8%.
"We have increased our investments in revenue-generating opportunities and in particular in markets with high growth potential such as Nigeria, Russia and Romania," Coca-Cola said.
Comparable net profit of 449.7m and comparable earnings per share of 1.233 were 27.7% and 26.9% higher than in the prior year, respectively. Reported net profit and reported basic earnings per share were 426.m and 1.168.
The full year dividend was lifted by 23% to 0.54 a share.
Credit Suisse raised its forecast for current full year organic revenue to increase by 5.5% from 4.3%.
However, the bank it expected this to be largely offset by foreign exchange translations, and left EPS estimates unchanged at 1.37. It also lowered its target price to £27 from £28.20 due to forex changes.
"We expect CCH to deliver another year of solid topline growth in full year 2018, albeit with more balanced volume growth and price/mix than in recent years," CS said in a note.
"The company expects volume growth in all segments, in particular key markets Russia and Nigeria where the macro environment is becoming more favourable (Russia returned to low-single digit volume growth in Q4)."
"Growth is now broader based as many of CCH's smaller markets are contributing. We expect the group volume growth acceleration to offset a slower albeit solid price/mix development, as the business laps prior year price increases."