Briefs: Coca-Cola, Absolut and Pepsi

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pepsico

In this week's briefs, Coca-Cola Enterprises lifts sale
expectations for the year ahead, the Absolut vodka brand will go
the highest bidder at an upcoming auction, and Pepsi consolidates
its bottling presence in the US.

Coca-cola shakes up 2008 sales expectations Coca-Cola Enterprises says it expects strong volume growth in both its North American and European operations next year on the back of restructuring during 2007.

The company announced this week in a trading statement that improved cost efficiency and improved volume output for non-carbonated beverage alternatives like glacéau, FUZE, and a venture to Campbell's juice brands would ensure single digit growth in 2008.

Group president John Brock said he was confident that Coca-Cola was making significant progress in ensuring continued profit growth within the cominf few years.

"In a year characterized by significant cost increases, we have maintained a sharp focus on our key operating objectives and achieved important success in strengthening our brand portfolio, improving our effectiveness and efficiency," he stated.

"For example, the addition of glacéau brands adds tremendous depth to our North American portfolio and our Customer Centered Excellence initiative is driving both improved effectiveness and improved customer service".

Brock added that the company has also made changes to its operations in Europe, both in terms of cost effectiveness of production, and brand portfolio.

Absolut auction planned Bidders representing some of the world's leading drinks makers are expected to bid about $7bn for Absolut vodka maker V&S at an auction for the group planned next year, news reports have said.

The Swedish government, which owns 100 per cent of V&S' operations, said on Tuesday that it what decided to auction the company off next year, making one of the world's premium vodka brands up for grab, according to UK newspaper The Financial Times.

It was announced in June that the Swedish government would move to sell the state-owned company, and its flagship Absolut brand, as part of a wider privatization scheme.

The announcement has created a buzz over the future of the brand, amidst growing interest in premium spirits.

With consumption of these products on the rise, in markets like the US, many firms have shown a strong desire to add premium vodka brands to their portfolio.

In February, Constellation Brands announced it intended to buy the fast-growing Svedka vodka brand from Guillaume Cuvelier and Alcofinance for $384m. Svedka is one of the fastest growing vodka imports in the US, and increased volume sales by 60 per cent last year to 1.1m cases.

Pepsi buys up US bottler The Pepsi Bottling Group said on Tuesday that it had signed a letter of intent to acquire the New-York-based bottler the Pepsi-Cola Batavia Bottling Corp. Acquiring the 117 year old family-owned bottler, which is already a franchised bottler for the company, will allow the Pepsi-Bottling Group to extend its distribution presence in the state.

"We are very pleased to expand our footprint in upstate New York ," said Eric Foss, group chief executive officer.

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We look forward to continuing their tradition of excellence in these areas and meeting the beverage needs of the area's customers and consumers."

Related topics Markets Carlsberg PepsiCo

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