February 13, 2020 / 7:31 AM / 10 days ago

Rival Coca-Cola bottlers post higher profit, HBC sees faster growth

(Reuters) - Rival bottlers Coca Cola HBC (CCH.L) and Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) CCEPC.L reported solid rises in annual profit on Thursday, with HBC also forecasting a faster growth in volume across its segments in 2020.

HBC, the smaller of the two semi-independent bottlers, which bottles and sells Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) drinks in 28 countries, said demand in emerging markets like Nigeria and Romania helped operating profit rise 11.9% to 715.3 million euros (£600.2 million) for the year ended Dec. 31.

“According to external forecasts for 2020, the economic outlook in our territories continues to be healthy and this we expect will support the final year of our 2020 plan,” the company said.

It expects faster growth in its established and developing countries segments, which were affected by unfavourable weather in 2019.

The Swiss-based company said restructuring initiatives from last year and those set to be rolled in 2020 together are expected to yield 32 million euros of total benefits in 2020.

Separately, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) CCEPC.L reported an annual operating profit of 1.55 billion euros compared with 1.3 billion euros last year.

U.S.-based Coca-Cola Co owns a 23.2% stake in Coca-Cola HBC and a 19.11% stake in Coca-Cola European Partners, according to Refinitiv data.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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