May 15, 2015 / 1:21 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC's first-quarter sales rise

(Adds detail, CFO)

LONDON/ATHENS, May 15 (Reuters) - Drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC AG said first-quarter sales volumes rose 7.2 percent, helped by four extra selling days versus last year, the earlier timing of the Easter holiday and a good performance in Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

The second-largest bottler of the brands of the Coca-Cola Company said currency movements had a 5 percent adverse impact on net sales, resulting in net sales revenue growth of 1.7 percent compared with a year ago.

Chief Executive Dimitris Lois said it was a “solid quarter”, after plans to stabilise volumes in Europe and to mitigate the adverse impact of currencies in some emerging markets proved effective.

Shares in the London-listed company were up 0.5 percent at 1310 GMT on Friday.

The company had previously expected a negative hit from foreign exchange movements of about 200 million euros ($227 million) this year, mainly because of the depreciation of the Russian rouble. But on Friday it said that spot rates had since improved, cutting the negative impact to about 140 million euros.

Chief Financial Officer Michalis Imellos said most of the 60-million-euro gain compared with the previous estimate would be offset by other factors, such as the paring back of cost savings, and initiatives to boost performance.

“We do expect that there will be some benefit flowing to the bottom line based on these updated assumptions, not all of it.”

($1 = 0.8821 euros)

Reporting by Paul Sandle in London and Angeliki Koutantou in Athens; Editing by Pravin Char

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