By James Atkinson

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) has advised that continued weakness in the dark spirits category will cause a decline in full-year earnings of its alcoholic beverages division.

CCA, which distributes the former Beam Global brands for Suntory Beam in Australia, said the dark spirits decline would be partially offset by contributions from its Fijian division, Paradise Beverages.

CEO Alison Watkins reaffirmed the company's long-term commitment to alcohol, but suggested the division would be slower to realise gains than previously thought.

"We must acknowledge the rapid pace of change in the alcoholic beverage categories in which we compete and we expect this will lead us to establish an updated set of annual targets and timeframes for returns reflecting our revised growth plan," she said.

CCA reported a 15.3 per cent decline in group EBIT to $316.7 million, before significant items, in line with guidance provided in April.

"Trading conditions were challenging across all channels," the company said.

"Volumes and earnings in operational accounts declined as we experienced a continued shift to national chains and quick service restaurants."

Watkins said the company had made significant progress with its plans to drive revenue growth and strengthen its route to market, while reducing its cost base.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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