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Greece: Bottler CCH posts (EURO)1 million Q1 loss

Greece: Bottler CCH posts (EURO)1 million Q1 loss

Greece's Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company SA, the world's second largest Coke soft drinks bottler, reported a (EURO)1 million ($1.44 million) comparable net loss for the first quarter Tuesday, affected by higher commodity prices.
"Increasing commodity prices during our seasonally least significant trading period reduced our profitability for the quarter," said CEO Doros Constantinou. The company had posted a (EURO)33 million net profit in the fourth quarter of last year.
"While input costs will remain a challenge throughout the year, we expect trading conditions to improve as we move into our more important summer selling period during the second quarter," he said.
Profitability was also affected by the timing of Easter _ which fell during the second quarter this year but the first last year _ during which the consumption of soft drinks traditionally increases.
The company said it expected commodity costs to increase "by low double digits," mainly due to world prices for sugar and one of the components in beverage containers. While the global prices have dipped recently, "we anticipate the impact on margins to peak in the second quarter," it said.
While the company said it was "encouraged by improving economic trends in key countries" such as Russia, Nigeria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, many others were still suffering from high unemployment and weak consumer sentiment, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.