Coca-Cola bottler’s profits surge after hospitality rebound

Coca-Cola bottler’s profits surge after hospitality rebound

Coca-Cola’s bottling business for the UK and Europe almost doubled its profits for the past year having been boosted by the reopening of hospitality and acquisitions, new figures show.

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) hailed an “extraordinary year” which saw it post a 98.5% cent rise in profits after tax to £828.5 million for 2021, compared with the previous year.

Revenues also  increased by 30%, in no small part due to its acquisition of Australian bottling business Coca-Cola Amatil.

The company rebranded from Coca-Cola European Partners after it snapped up the Australian arm in May 2021.

CCEP said its like-for-like sales in 2021 were up 4.5%t on 2020 levels as customers bought more drinks outside of their homes, following the reopening of pubs restaurants and bars. But this was 5.5% below pre-pandemic levels from 2019.

Chief executive Damian Gammell said: “2021 was an extraordinary year for CCEP. We are a stronger, more diverse business, built on great people, great service and great beverages – done sustainably.

“Solid top-line recovery, value share gains, operating margin expansion and remarkable free cash flow generation demonstrate our strong performance in a challenging environment.

“Our results also reflect the successful acquisition and integration of Coca-Cola Amatil, a fantastic business to have acquired at the right time, as we look forward to an even brighter future together.”

The drink’s giant’s Irish division, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC), the bottling partner to Coca-Cola in Northern Ireland, has yet to report its financial performance for 2021.

In 2020 its sales fell by nearly 12% from £232.1m to £204.7m, while its operating profit slipped from £16.4m to £14.6m.

However, the company – which had a major restructuring during the trading year – grew its assets to just shy of £100 million.

Operating since 2010 from a 50,000 sq metres facility at Knockmore Hill in Lisburn, the company employs 450 people, producing, marketing and selling a wide portfolio of soft drinks including Coke, Fanta, Sprite and Schweppes.