It told investors in a conference call, net sales revenue for 2016 fell 2% to €6.2bn ($6.6bn), while comparable earnings per share rose 12.5% to €0.97.
Nigeria, Romania, Serbia
Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue was up 3%, helped by price increases, mainly in emerging markets, as well as better package and category mix.
Volume increased by 0.1%, with good growth led by Nigeria and Romania, offset by continuing decline in Russia and weaker volume performance in Italy and Austria.
Dimitris Lois, CEO, Coca-Cola HBC, said in 2017, the company expects slightly better economic conditions to support volume growth.
“Volume in our emerging markets grew by 1.2% in the year with strong growth in Nigeria, Romania, and Serbia being partially offset by continued decline in our largest market, Russia. Falling 8% in the year,” said Lois.
“Volumes in Nigeria continue to grow strongly increasing by 11% in the year with all main categories posting growth.
Pulpy orange juice
“Trademark Coca-Cola drove the increase following the introduction of a 60cl PET bottle, in addition to our 35cl returnable glass bottle at affordable price points. Sprite and Fanta also grew strongly. Water grew double digits while juice grew, helped by the launch of Pulpy in our new 400ml PET pack.
“Volume in Romania increased by 9% in the year. There was some excellent performance across our portfolio; a double digit growth performance in sparkling was driven by trademark Coca-Cola, Fanta and Schweppes. Growth was further supported by water and juice, the latter mainly due to a good performance by Pulpy.
“Looking at 2017 we expect volume to continue to grow in the developing and emerging segments and to stabilize in the established segments. We see inflation picking up in our more developed markets.
“With Nigeria, our strategy has always been on affordability, this year we have a proliferation of our overall pack size we have not launched nationwide but selectively our 60cl PET. Also, we have expanded the distribution of our 35cl glass, as we move forward we have strong plans in Nigeria such as additional SKUs covering Sparkling and Juice. We have plans behind Fanta with a new campaign coming up.
“Our pricing strategy in Nigeria takes in the overall environment, the consumer and not what our competition is doing.”
In the financial report, increased profits helped generate €431.2m of free cash flow, up €19.4m year on year.
“We are confident 2017 will be a year of currency-neutral revenue growth and margin expansion as we continue to make progress towards our 2020 targets,” added Lois.
Coca-Cola HBC has operations in 28 countries serving a approximately 595 million people. It produces a range of primarily non-alcoholic ready to drink beverages in the sparkling, juice, water, sport, energy, tea and coffee categories.