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Coca-Cola HBC third-quarter sales rises on volume growth in new markets

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Coca-Cola HBC third-quarter sales rises on volume growth in new markets

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LONDON (Reuters) – Drinks maker Coca-Cola HBC <CCH.L> reported higher third-quarter sales on Thursday, helped by volume growth in developing and emerging markets and a hot summer in southern Europe. The company, which sells Coca-Cola Co <KO.N> drinks in 28 countries mostly in Europe and Asia, reported sales grew 5 percent in the quarter. Volume rose 3.4 percent. On a currency neutral basis, total group revenue grew 6 percent in the period. The company said currency-neutral revenue per unit case was up 2.5 percent, helped by an ongoing roll-out of revenue growth initiatives, along with price increases. Volume in emerging markets – which include Romania, Serbia and Ukraine – increased by 3.5 percent, while volume in developing markets – including Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary – rose by 5.1 percent, the company said. Established markets volume grew by 2.2 percent in the quarter, benefiting from a good tourist season and exceptionally warm summer weather in Italy and Greece. “We are very pleased with the strong revenue delivery in the quarter, well balanced between broad-based volume growth and substantial price/mix improvement,” acting CEO Michalis Imellos said in a statement. The company suddenly lost its CEO last month, when Dimitris Lois died, only weeks after the company announced he would take a temporary leave of absence for medical treatment. Coca-Cola HBC said it has a succession plan for the CEO position and a “thorough” process is under way. The company had been seen as a possible bidder for Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, a business being sold by Coca-Cola.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller and Radhika Rukmangadhan; Editing by Susan Fenton and Adrian Croft)
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