September 12, 2018 / 7:34 AM / in a month

Coke bottler CCEP plans $1.74 billion buyback, sees higher profit growth

(Reuters) - Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) CCE.N said on Wednesday it plans to repurchase 1.5 billion euros ($1.74 billion) worth of shares, and raised its profit expectations for the year as the drinks bottler benefited from warmer weather in Europe.

The buyback will be carried out in New York and Amsterdam, and will begin as soon as possible, with up to 500 million euros of shares to be repurchased in 2018, the company said in a statement.

CCEP’s New York-listed shares are up about 8.6 percent so far this year, while its Dutch shares (CCE.AS) are up about 11 percent in the same period.

“I am particularly pleased with how our teams across Great Britain, Germany and Northern Europe have embraced the positive challenges brought by great weather. The strong performance allows us to slightly improve our full-year outlook, despite softer summer trading in Spain and France,” CCEP Chief Executive Officer Damian Gammell said.

Britain and much of Europe have experienced warmer weather this year. Forecasts by The Weather Company in late August showed that above-average temperatures are set to continue in most of Europe during the September to November period.

CCEP improved its full-year earnings-per-share growth forecast to a range of 7-8 percent from its earlier range of 5-6 percent. The company expects full-year revenue to grow by about 2-2.5 percent.

CCEP also said it intends to increase the fourth-quarter interim dividend payout ratio to 50 percent from 45 percent.

CCEP was formed after the merger of three European bottlers of Coca-Cola (KO.N) drinks in 2015. The company's shares trade on Euronext Amsterdam, the New York Stock Exchange and the Madrid Stock Exchange. reut.rs/2MpishM

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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