Coca-Cola HBC Q1 sales hit by emerging markets currency headwinds

Coca-Cola HBC said on Friday that first quarter net sales revenue fell by 1.7% to €1.35bn, impacted by a 6.2% adverse currency translation, mainly from the depreciation of the Nigerian Naira and the Russian Rouble.

The soft drinks giant, which operates in 28 mostly European countries and Nigeria and groups its businesses into three market segments suffered a big decline in its emerging markets segments, where net sales revenue fell by 8.4% to €576.1m from €628.9m in the prior year. The decline was blamed on currency depreciation of the Nigerian Naira and the Russian Rouble, two of its biggest markets. The company notes that volumes fell by 10% in Nigeria due to tough comparative in both volume and price compared to the prior year quarter as well as availability issues in certain packs. It notes that the Nigerian economy continues to recover, but the consumer remains under pressure due to high unemployment and inflation.

Established markets fared better with a 0.1% net sales revenue gain on a 1.1% volume lift, largely driven by sparkling drinks. The timing of Easter to the first quarter also helped boost volumes in Italy, Austria and Ireland.

The firm saw its biggest sales growth in developing markets where revenue grew by 12.6% to €255.2m from €226.6m in the prior year, driven by a significant volume growth of 11.8%. The firm notes that volume in Poland grew by the mid-teens, helped by the timing of Easter. Hungary and the Czech Republic also experienced high single-digit and mid-single-digits growth respectively, driven by the Easter shift.

Looking forward to the rest of 2018, Coca-Cola HBC’s chief operating officer, Zoran Bogdanovic, said that “With strong commercial plans in place and anticipated gradual economic recovery in Russia and Nigeria, we expect our revenue growth to accelerate as the year progresses.”

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