LONDON Soft drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC (CCH.L) reported higher full-year profit on Thursday, helped by price increases and cost cuts, though revenue was pulled lower by currency fluctuations and weakness in Russia.
The company, which bottles, sells and distributes Coca-Cola (KO.N) drinks in 28 countries, mostly in Europe, said net sales revenue for 2016 fell 2 percent to 6.2 billion euros (5 billion pounds), while comparable earnings per share rose 12.5 percent to 0.97 euros.
Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue was up 3 percent, helped by price increases, mainly in emerging markets. The company only sold 0.1 percent more of its drinks, due to declines in Russia and weak performance in Italy and Austria.
"In 2017, we expect slightly better economic conditions to support volume growth," said Chief Executive Dimitris Lois in a statement. "We are confident that 2017 will be a year of currency-neutral revenue growth and margin expansion."
The company is seen as a possible buyer for the 57 percent stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa that Coke is putting up for sale following the takeover of its partner SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
(Fixes spelling of CEO's name in fourth paragraph)
(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by David Goodman and David Holmes)