Business

Sales at north's Coke bottler slide by £7.5m

Sales at Coca-Cola in Northern Ireland were down last year

COCA-COLA in Northern Ireland saw sales slide by more than £7.5 million last year - but turnover was still £189.58m.

Operating profit however rose from £10.3m to £12.7m for the year to December 2014 after costs of sales reduced by almost £10m.

Lisburn-based Coca-Cola HBC is licensed to produce, sell and distribute a range of Coca-Cola branded soft drinks in the Irish and British markets.

It also has its own Deep River Rock water brand,

The firm currently offers almost 30 brands across the north.

Directors said they were committed to "increasing the company's market share through organic growth including new product innovations".

"Despite a decrease in number of units sold in comparison to prior year, achievement of improvements in buying, inventory management and overhead cost savings has resulted in the satisfactory results reported for 2014, despite the sector remaining highly competitive".

The company employed 517 on average during the year, down slightly on 2013.

Notably, the number of staff involved in distribution more than doubled from 34 to 83. Meanwhile, production workers reduced from 305 to 249.

The total wage bill was £23.4m as a result with the highest paid director receiving £222,501 - down from £556,823 the previous year.

The company opened a £93m factory outside Lisburn in 2010.

It followed a major shake-up its business across Ireland when it chose to relocate from Dublin and Lambeg on the outskirts of south Belfast.

The company sought to consolidate its operations at a single production and distribution facility looking at more than 60 sites north and south before opting for the green field site at Knockmore Hill.

The 43-acre site includes a 50,000 sq m manufacturing, bottling and warehousing facility operating 24 hours-a-day.

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