Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has approved a €1.5 billion share buyback programme and upgraded its outlook for the remainder of the year, with chief executive Damien Gammell praising the company’s capitalisation on a better-than-average summer across much of Europe.
Last month, CCEP – one of the largest bottlers in the Coke system, covering 13 European territories – recorded flat revenue growth in its second-quarter, although performance was more positive within its lower-sugar and better-for-you brands.
The company has approved a €1.5 billion share buyback programme to reduce its share capital, beginning with up to €500 million of share repurchases in 2018, subject to trading volumes.
It now expects revenue growth of 2-2.5% and operating profit growth at the top of end of its previously stated range, between 6% and 7%.
“Two years ago we created CCEP, now the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler by net revenue,” Gammell said. “During this time, we have reset the base for profitable growth, delivered on our merger synergy commitments while building for the future. CCEP was always about a bigger and bolder vision beyond the merger. We have the scale, the right operating model and the right talent. We have a realistic and exciting long-term view of the growth opportunity in our markets, having mapped out a vision for the next ten years. We know that winning today allows us to win tomorrow for all of our stakeholders. So we are investing now in core capabilities that will support our growth and set us apart to win.
“Shorter term, I am particularly pleased with how our teams across Great Britain, Germany and Northern Europe have embraced the positive challenges brought by great weather. The strong performance allows us to slightly improve our full year outlook, despite softer summer trading in Spain and France.
“This is further endorsement of the creation of CCEP, which alongside today announcing annual growth objectives over the mid-term and our first share buyback programme, collectively demonstrate our ability to consistently deliver shareholder value as we manage a rich portfolio of markets.”
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