Coca-Cola HBC resilient despite adverse weather

This year’s cold summer weather failed to dampen sales at Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company. The bottler reported a solid third quarter performance with €1,961 million ($2,155m) in sales, up 5 per cent over the same period last year.

“In a quarter in which unseasonably cold and wet weather significantly depressed industry volume growth in a number of our countries, we are pleased to have gained or maintained share in the majority of our markets and to have made progress with our commercial strategy which delivered a step-up in price/mix and ongoing growth in key areas of strategic focus such as Trademark Coke, Adults, Zeros and innovation,” said Zoran Bogdanovic, chief executive of Coca-Cola HBC.

Bogdanovic added that the company has also “seen an acceleration in Q4, giving us confidence that 2019 will be a year of solid top-line growth and good margin expansion.”

Energy drinks helped give Coca-Cola HBC sales a boost. The company reported volume growth of over 25 per cent in this market during the quarter, driven by growth in brands Monster and Burn. Innovation in this market – including the addition of new brands such as Coke Energy and Predator – also resulted in increased sales.

However, the weather did take its toll – particularly in Switzerland, Austria, the company’s developing segment and Russia. Coca-Cola HBC’s sales were also hit by declines in its water business – also largely due to the weather – especially in its developing markets.

Meanwhile, in emerging markets Coca-Cola HBC highlighted a positive sales trend in Nigeria. In September, the company invested in PET recycling in the country and reported strong double-digit volume growth in the month of October as a result of its efforts.

Sustainability is key for Coca-Cola HBC. This year, it was named by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as Europe’s most sustainable beverage company for the sixth time in seven years. The company recently added Croatia as the fourth market where it sells water in 100 per cent recycled PET packaging.