By Ian Neubauer
Australia’s leading non-alcoholic beverage manufacturer, Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), has overcome a perfect storm of negative factors to deliver double-digit growth for the first half of the 2007-08 fiscal year.
CCA delivered a record net after tax profit of $171.9 million for the first half of the year, representing an increase of 10.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. Earnings per share for the period increased 24.6 per cent to 23.3 cents per share.
“CCA has delivered another strong profit result in tougher trading conditions with excellent performances from the Australian and New Zealand beverage businesses and the continued growth of our Indonesian operations,” said CCA group managing director, Terry Davis.
Davis said the result was driven by tight cost control programs, well-balanced revenue and the resilience of the company’s Australian beverage operation.
“The Australian business delivered 10 per cent earnings before tax and interest growth for the first half despite being impacted by poor weather and heavy discounting by our major competitor in the first quarter,” he said, referring to rival Cadbury Schweppes, whose beverage business has been put for sale and had been targeted for acquisition by CCA.
CCA is also believed to be in negotiation with Danone over the sale of its Frucor unit, which bottles Pepsi in New Zealand and manufactures V, the leading energy drink in Australia.
CCA shares posted healthy growth following the release of its half-year results on Wednesday (August 20), gaining 40 cents or 5 per cent in one day to reach a high of $8.34. Demand has since mellowed and its shares were trading at $8.17 at 11:00am today (August 22).
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