Coca-Cola HBC - Austria bottling plant

A Coca-Cola HBC bottling plant in Austria

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Drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC has hailed a “very good” first-half performance as volumes proved resilient despite higher prices.

Revenues fizzed 19.3% higher to €5bn in the six months to the end of June, climbing 17.8% on an organic basis, and mainly driven by price hikes pushed through in 2022 and the early 2023.

Overall volumes declined 1% in the half as its stills portfolio, led by water, fell 11.2%. However, the group’s priority energy and coffee categories saw volumes up 20.9% and 21.9% respectively, while sparkling rose 1.6%.

The better-than-expected performance led the Hellenic Coke bottler to upgrade its organic revenue growth forecasts for the year from 5-6% to the mid-teens.

Operating profits at the group more than doubled to €557.3m compared with a year ago when it was forced to write down its Russian operations. Underlying EBIT increased 17.7% on an organic basis as the growth in the top line more than offset increased input costs.

CEO Zoran Bogdanovic said: “It has been a very good first half of the year with progress across our strategic pillars.

“Our priority categories of sparkling, energy and coffee, together with a strong performance across all segments, have driven organic revenues and EBIT growth ahead of expectations.”

He added that while some markets continued to face a challenging consumer environment, revenue per case had been improved through careful price and mix management enhanced by data, insights and analytics.

“At the same time, volumes have remained resilient which is testament to the quality of our execution,” he said.

Shares in the firm soared 3.2% to 2,333p as investors reacted positively to the upgrades.

Morning update

It’s quiet elsewhere on the markets.

Sky News has reported potential interest in a Wilko rescue deal, with specialist investor Gordon Brothers - which has previously backed high street names such as Laura Ashley - exploring a bid.

However, the story put the chances of a rescue of the ailing discounter as “relatively low”.

The FTSE 100 has opened 0.8% higher to 7,589.97pts.

Marks & Spencer and Tesco are two early fmcg risers, up 0.4% to 207.2p and 0.3% to 258.8p.

Fallers so far include Haleon, down 1.9% to 330p, and British American Tobacco, down 0.1% to 2,612.5p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 fell 0.4% to 7,527.42pts yesterday

Beyond Meat shares sank 17.1% to $12.67 - way below its $25 IPO price and significantly lower than highs of $234 - as the plant-based meat brand downgraded annual forecasts following Q2 sales dropping by 31%.

There was little other company news to drive share price movement.

Risers included PayPoint and Greggs, up 2.6% to 546p and 2.6% to 2,598p respectively.

Just Eat Takeaway, Naked Wines and Virgin Wines UK were down 3.6% to 1,248p, 4.9% to 66.9p and 1% to 35.2p respectively.