Coca-Cola bottling weakened by strong euro

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Shares in Coca-Cola HBC lost their fizz today as the Greek-based bottler of the famous soft drink revealed that foreign exchange movements have eaten into revenues this year. 

The FTSE 100 company, which is also listed in Athens, said revenues sank 2.7% to €1.3 billion (£1 billion) in the first quarter of the year, though total volume of sales slightly improved to 439.6 million unit cases.

Weak emerging markets currencies combined with a strong euro knocked revenues, which on a constant-currency basis rose 2%.

Chief executive Dimitris Lois said: “While soft in the quarter, pricing trends in developing markets are improving.”

Investors were unconvinced and the shares fell 56p, or 4%, to 1341p. With little appetite for bold bets, it was another day to take profits as the FTSE 100 drifted 39.18 points lower to 6065.01. Concerns about more shaky Chinese data over the weekend kept buyers on the sidelines.

The insurers were also on the losing side, with Direct Line 11.4p cheaper at 362.1p and More Than owner RSA off 10.9p at 465p. Traders suggested it could be in the wake of weak demand for US bonds, but also pointed at the profits slump from Italian insurer Generali.

Investors were still wary of Inmarsat, down another 54p to 740p after last week, warning that sales this year would be lower than expected. Today, the shares continued on their slippery slope as satellite rival Eutelsat dived 30% in Paris after a profit warning.

On the mid-cap index, tech firm Micro Focus dropped 52p to 1511p as major shareholder Wizard, a consortium of investors including the US hedge fund Elliott, edged closer to the exit. Wizard sold 24 million shares at 1505p each for £362 million, leaving it with a 2.6% stake. Oil and gas firm Hunting plunged 31.75p to 266.5p after warning yesterday that trading in the first quarter was “very weak”. Canaccord said it was “worse than we feared”. 

With the price of gold shining, it was only a matter of time before its rise was reflected by City analysts. Credit Suisse topped up its target price on Acacia Mining by 80p to 380p on the basis, helping the former African Barrick Gold up 4.5p to 332p.

On AIM, online casino 32Red jumped 9.46p to 125.71p after a deal to sponsor Leeds United next season and a strong trading update.

Indian renewables firm Mytrah Energy improved 2.22p to 52.47p after more power was commissioned at three of its projects. 

However, controversial changes to the terms of share options mean chairman and founder Ravi Kailas will now get his hands on close to £6 million in shares effectively for free.

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May 14, 2016 |
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