Business

Coca-Cola loses some of its fizz as Irish profits go flat

Coca-Cola HBC saw its turnover fall 9 per cent in Northern Ireland last year
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SOFT drink bottler Coca-Cola HBC lost some of its fizz in Northern Ireland in 2015 after seeing its turnover and profits squeezed.

According to figures filed at Companies House in Belfast, the Lisburn-based manufacturer and distributor saw its sales dip by 9 per cent last year from £189.6 million to £172.3 million.

Operating profit for the year was £12.1m against £12.6m the previous year while profit on ordinary activities before tax amounted to £9.7m (2014: £10m).

But the company's net assets have shot up from £40.9m to £56.1m, the accounts show.

Staff numbers increased from 517 to 522 over the period, made up of workers in production (222), distribution (118), sales and marketing (133) and administration (49).

Staff costs, in turn, rose slightly to £23.43m, but the company's highest-paid director took a hefty cut in his payment over the year - down from £222,501 to £197,872.

The company made charitable donations of £22,889 during the year.

Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland is a member of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, a franchisee of the Coca-Cola Company, and it has been operating in Northern Ireland since 1939, originally at Lambeg but since 2008 from a manufacturing plant on a 45-acre site at Knockmore Hill outside Lisburn.

The company produces, distributes, markets and sells a wide range of soft drinks to an all-Ireland market, and its 30-strong product portfolio includes carbonated soft drinks such as Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, Diet Coke and Fanta as well as Deep RiverRock water, Fruice fruit juice and Powerade.

In a strategic report accompanying the results, the company said: "Despite the sector remaining highly competitive, improvements in buying, inventory management and overhead cost savings has results in satisfactory results for 2015.

"The directors are committed to long-term creation of shareholder value by increasing the company's market share through organic growth, including new product innovations."

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