Swiss-based Coca-Cola bottler HBC records 88% jump in half year profits buoyed by recovery in out of home consumption

SWITZERLAND – Hellenic Bottling Company, the world’s third-largest Coca-Cola anchor bottler in terms of volume, has reported a 88% surge in net profit to 233.1 million euros (US$273.54 million) for the six months ended July 2. 

The company’s impressive half-year profits were realized from sales of 1.126-billion-unit cases for total net revenue of 3.247 billion euro (US$3.8 billion). 

According to the Zug, Switzerland-based company, ongoing recovery and effective execution drove additional momentum and share gains in Q2. 

“We are very pleased with the first half in which we increased value share gains, revenues and profitability as well as making continued progress on our strategic priorities,” said HBC CEO Zoran Bogdanovic. 

“The business gained momentum as the out-of-home channel recovered and growth in at-home continued. In addition, we have delivered growth in the Established and Developing segments alongside the consistent strong performance in the Emerging segment.” 

Bogdanovic further noted that during H1 of the year, the company strengthened its Coffee strategy with Caffè Vergnano, which will add a premium offering alongside the broad appeal of Costa Coffee.  

“We have made progress on our World Without Waste agenda with new launches of 100% recycled PET packaged beverages,” he added. 

The company, which bottles and sells soft drinks in 28 countries and is 23.16% owned by the Atlanta-based beverage giant Coca-Cola, has however warned that operating profit margins would be lower in the second half compared with a year earlier due to rising cost inflation. 

Nonetheless, the company expects margins to expand by 20 to 30 basis points in 2021, thanks to strength in the first half and as revenue is expected to recover with people eating and drinking out more as restrictions lift. 

Meanwhile, HBC has agreed to buy a 94.7% stake in Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt from its major shareholders, a wholly-owned affiliate of The Coca-Cola Company and MAC Beverages Limited for US$427 million. 

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According to a statement from the company, the acquisition will give it access to the second-largest Non-Alcoholic Ready To Drink market (“NARTD”) in Africa by volume, building on the existing scale – Nigeria and Egypt account for about 25% of the continent’s population. 

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