Fourth Quarter Highlights
- Volume of 492 million unit cases, 6% above 2007. Net sales revenue rose to €1,592 million, 9% above 2007.
- On a comparable basis, operating profit (EBIT) of €61 million, 30% below prior year.
- On a comparable basis, net profit of €3 million, 93% below prior year.
Note: Financial indicators on a comparable basis exclude the recognition of the non-cash impairment charge to intangible assets, non-recurring items and the results of Socib S.p.A. in 2008 as presented below.
Doros Constantinou, Managing Director of Coca‑Cola Hellenic, commented:
"Over the course of 2008, Coca‑Cola Hellenic maintained a solid increase in revenue of 8% versus the prior year, accelerating to 9% in the fourth quarter. Similarly, we achieved volume growth of 5% in the full year and 6% in the quarter with growth across all product categories and reporting segments. While trading conditions were difficult, we grew market share in most of our countries demonstrating the strength of our operating model, diverse brand portfolio and unrivalled route-to-market systems.
A rapid devaluation in currencies since the beginning of November in a number of our key markets led to a decline in comparable fourth quarter EBIT and a shortfall against our latest profit targets. For the full year, deteriorating economic conditions and unfavourable summer weather led to softer than expected volume growth, particularly in the higher margin immediate consumption channel. These factors together with higher commodity costs resulted in lower comparable operating profit for the full year.
We expect the business environment in 2009 to remain highly challenging. Given the recent significant volatility of currencies in many of our territories and frequent revisions to official economic forecasts, we do not believe it would be meaningful to provide an earnings outlook for 2009. Some of the anticipated adverse factors will be mitigated by easing input cost pressures and further cost reduction programmes that will improve the flexibility of our cost base while strengthening our competitive position in the market place. In addition, our well-invested infrastructure, together with a more intense focus on working capital will enable us to significantly improve cashflow generation and maintain our existing dividend policy. I remain confident that the underlying strength of our business and robust capital structure leaves us well placed for both the near and long term."
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