Answering analyst questions at the recent Consumer Analyst Group of Europe (CAGE) conference, Brock was asked for more colour on how the $8.3bn ( turnover firm was using cash and talk of returning cash to shareholders.
“Regarding acquisitions, we and Coke have both said, we have this continuing window to talk about Germany, which we are doing,” he said.
“And whether it’s Germany or any other possible M&A activity, we have a very disciplined and logical approach to looking at any possible acquisition."
CCE would happily look at any acquisition that created shareholder value, Brock added, and there was no single metric (earnings per share/EPS accretion or dilution was just one measure, he explained) the firm would look at.
“There are lots of others that we would be very keen on making sure we fully understood,” he added.
“So you assume that if we were going to do any acquisition, whatever it might be, whether it were a piece of geographic footprint of Coca-Cola bottling, or frankly whether it was…some kind of brand acquisition that we did in concert with the Coca-Cola Company, it’s going to create value, or we won’t do it.”
CCE’s success within non-alcoholic ready-to-drink (NARTD) beverages in its territories (its volume and value shares are 20% and 29% respectively) were linked to a focus on growth within the high-value segments, Brock said.
While CCE’s NARTD volume production was balanced between Water, Sparkling and Still, the value created in Sparkling was far greater, Brock said.
“Sparkling is 87% of our sales volume and we have a value share of 56% in the Sparkling segment.
“Even as we work to grow the Sparkling segment and leverage our successful brands, we continue to work selectively to grow share in Still, with initiatives in juice, juice drinks, water and isotonics,” he added.
One standout success for CCE was Coke Zero, Brock said, which had grown more than 15% in 2011 and on a CAGR over the past three years.
“We have plans to extend our reach to core consumers and to expand the brand with increased availability of a caffeine-free version in Belgium,” he said.
“By successfully executing these and other initiatives, we can continue the momentum of our zero calorie cola portfolio.”