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Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) Sees 2012 EPS At High-End Of Prior Forecast

 December 18, 2012 08:13 AM

(By Balaseshan) Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: CCE) said it expects full-year 2012 earnings at the high-end of its previous guidance. The non-alcoholic beverages producer provided business update and predicts 2013 EPS growth of about 10%.

For 2012, CCE expects comparable earnings per share (EPS) in a range of $2.20 to $2.24, with results expected at the high end of the range, including the negative impact of currency translation. Currency translation will decrease full-year comparable EPS about 7.5%.

Net sales and operating income for the fiscal 2012 are expected to grow in a low to mid-single-digit range. Street analysts predict EPS of $2.23 on revenue to decline 2.50% for the fiscal 2012. Based on recent currency rates, the company now expects 2012 free cash flow of about $500 million, with capital expenditures of about $375 million.

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For 2013, CCE expects EPS to grow about 10% on a comparable and currency neutral basis. Net sales and operating income are expected to grow in a mid-single-digit range. Street predicts EPS growth of 13% on revenue to rise 4.80%.

The company also expects 2013 free cash flow of $450 million to $500 million after including a year-over-year increase in cash restructuring expenses of about $125 million.

The company affirmed its long-term growth targets, with net sales growth of 4% to 6%, operating income growth of 6% to 8%, high single-digit EPS growth, and an annual increase of at least 20 basis points for return on invested capital.

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The long-term outlook for capital spending has been revised to a range of 4% to 4.5% of net sales, down from about 5%, driven primarily by a continued focus on prudent capital management and the impact of the French excise tax increase adding to net sales, the company said.

In addition, the Board of Directors has approved a new $1.5 billion share repurchase program, the third program since the 2010 completion of the transaction that created the new CCE. At least $500 million in repurchases are expected under this program in 2013.

CCE also expects to increase its 2013 dividend payout to a range of 30% to 35% of 2013 comparable and currency neutral EPS. This would be the sixth straight year of dividend increases and represents an expected annualized 2013 dividend increase of at least 15% above 2012.

CCE closed Monday's regular session up 0.39% at $31.09. The stock has been trading between $25.10 and $32.55 for the past 52 weeks.

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