(By Balaseshan) Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: CCE), a maker of nonalcoholic beverages, reported a 7.4% drop in quarterly earnings due to unfavorable weather, the impact of the French excise tax increase as well as a 3.5% decline in revenue.
Profit fell 7.4% to $263 million for the third quarter, while earnings per share (EPS) rose 1.1% to $0.89. Comparable earnings declined to $212 million or $0.71 per share from $234 million or $0.72 per share. Currency translation negatively affected the latest quarter comparable EPS by $0.06, or 8.5%.
Sales decreased 3.5% to $2.1 billion from last year. Sales rose 4.5% on a currency neutral basis, and up 2.5% on a currency neutral basis excluding the impact of the French excise tax increase.
Analysts, on average, surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected EPS of $0.69 on revenue of $2.10 billion for the third quarter.
Volume marginally rose 0.5%, reflecting improved weather trends in August and September, offset by the impact of the French excise tax increase and ongoing challenging macroeconomic conditions.
Net pricing per case grew 4.5% and cost of sales per case grew 5.5%, both including the impact of the French excise tax increase. Excluding the impact of the French excise tax increase, net pricing per case increased 2.5%, and cost of sales per case rose 2%.
Looking ahead into the full year 2012, the company now expects comparable EPS of $2.20 to $2.24, including the negative impact of currency translation, while Street predicts $2.24. Both net sales and operating income for 2012 are now expected to grow in a low to mid-single-digit range, while Street analysts predict revenue to decline 1.80%.
This revision is primarily driven by customer and marketplace conditions in France due in part to the French excise tax increase, an increased competitive landscape in Great Britain, and the impact of ongoing challenging macroeconomic conditions.
Previously, the company had anticipated comparable EPS of $2.18 to $2.24, including the negative impact of currency translation, both net sales and operating income growth in a mid-single-digit range.
CCE expects new operating business transformation program to be completed by the end of 2014 and to include non-recurring restructuring charges of about $200 million.
This program is designed to increase the effectiveness of its sales teams, improve operational efficiency, generate about $100 million in ongoing benefits by 2015, allowing CCE to continue to invest in business, and improve platform for long-term, sustainable growth.
CCE is trading up 0.84% at $31.10 on Thursday. The stock has been trading between $24.20 and $32.55 for the past 52 weeks.