November 9, 2017 / 7:47 AM / in a year

Coca-Cola HBC third-quarter sales rises on volume growth in new markets

LONDON (Reuters) - Drinks maker Coca-Cola HBC (CCH.L) reported higher third-quarter sales on Thursday, helped by volume growth in developing and emerging markets and a hot summer in southern Europe.

The company, which sells Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) drinks in 28 countries mostly in Europe and Asia, reported sales grew 5 percent in the quarter. Volume rose 3.4 percent.

On a currency neutral basis, total group revenue grew 6 percent in the period.

The company said currency-neutral revenue per unit case was up 2.5 percent, helped by an ongoing roll-out of revenue growth initiatives, along with price increases.

Volume in emerging markets - which include Romania, Serbia and Ukraine - increased by 3.5 percent, while volume in developing markets - including Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary - rose by 5.1 percent, the company said.

Established markets volume grew by 2.2 percent in the quarter, benefiting from a good tourist season and exceptionally warm summer weather in Italy and Greece.

“We are very pleased with the strong revenue delivery in the quarter, well balanced between broad-based volume growth and substantial price/mix improvement,” acting CEO Michalis Imellos said in a statement.

The company suddenly lost its CEO last month, when Dimitris Lois died, only weeks after the company announced he would take a temporary leave of absence for medical treatment.

Coca-Cola HBC said it has a succession plan for the CEO position and a “thorough” process is under way.

The company had been seen as a possible bidder for Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, a business being sold by Coca-Cola.

Reporting by Martinne Geller and Radhika Rukmangadhan; Editing by Susan Fenton and Adrian Croft

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