SWITZERLAND – Swiss multinational bottling company, Coca Cola HBC has reported 17.1% currency-neutral revenue growth in its third quarter mainly driven by a recovery of sales as markets recover from pandemic slowdown. 

HBC posted third-quarter sales of 2.12 billion euros (US$2.46 billion), well above analysts’ average expectation of 2.04 billion euros and the 1.83 billion euros it reported last year. 

The company also reported a “sharp acceleration” on a two-year basis, closing 16.8% higher than the third quarter of 2019, pre-pandemic, or 8.9% ahead year-to-date on a like-for-like basis. 

The world’s third-largest bottler of Coca-Cola Company products, said “targeted execution” captured the summer season, as it benefited from the reopening of the out-of-home channel, while strength in its emerging segment continued. 

Volume growth came in at 13.1% for the quarter, which was supported by priority categories in its ‘24/7’ portfolio, with sparkling up 13.1% and low- and no-sugar sparkling growing by 54.6%. 

The company’s adult sparkling portfolio r0se 27.5%,  while its energy products delivered an impressive 29.4% growth during the quarter. 

Price-mix was 5.1% higher for the year-to-date and up 3.5% in the third quarter on a tougher comparator, with all three of the firm’s segments seeing price-mix expansion gain pace compared to the pre-Covid comparator in 2019. 

Coca-Cola HBC said it maintained “rigorous” management of its cost of goods sold (COGS), and “disciplined” control of its operational expenditure. 

In the financial results, the company revealed that it was on track to complete the acquisition of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt by the first quarter of 2022. 

Looking at its market segments, HBC said it saw sustained positive price-mix development and volume recovery in its established markets, propelled by good execution during the summer season, and the reopening of out-of-home channels. 

While releasing the results, Coca-cola HBC Chief Executive Zoran Bogdanovic said that the bottler will step up investment in marketing next year. 

“We’ve been ramping up (investments) already this year in marketing because that was the key thing that we decreased last year … we plan to further step up next year,” Bogdanovic said, without quantifying the investments. 

Earlier, Coca-Cola HBC announced a commitment to achieving net-zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040. 

The company also aims to reduce its value chain emissions in scopes 1,2 and 3 by 25%, with a further 50% reduction in the following decade.  

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