Coca-Cola's H1 profit falls

Group's Australian beverage arm takes a hit on challenging conditions in grocery sector, competition from private labels.

Coca Cola Amatil (CCL) has downgraded its full-year earnings guidance after profit in the first half took a hit on a 10% fall in Australian beverage earnings.

The world's largest beverage maker blamed difficult trading conditions in the Australian grocery market and competition from private labels and now expects full-year EBIT to come in between flat or fall by up to 4% on last year. 

For the first half to June, net profit fell 12.3% to $215.9 million in the half from the prior year, while revenue dropped 3.4% to $2.36 billion.

However, first-half earnings before interest and tax dropped 6.9% to $373.9 million, not as much as the company's forecast for between an 8-9% decline.

Further, CCA will pay a special unfranked interim dividend of 2.5 cents, as well as a 75% franked interim dividend of 24 cents – on par with the prior year.

CCA's group managing director Terry Davis said earnings fell 6.9% on "difficult trading conditions for the Australian beverage business in the grocery channel, combined with the impact on SPC Ardmona earnings from imported private label products and the slowdown in the PNG economy".

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