By Mike Cherney
SYDNEY--Australian bottler Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. said full-year net profit from continuing operations rose slightly in 2019, with Coca-Cola No Sugar performing well in its main Australian market.
Amatil said that net profit from continuing operations was nearly 394 million Australian dollars (US$263 million), an increase of more than 1%. Total revenue rose nearly 7% to A$5.1 billion. On a statutory basis, net profit was A$374 million, a 34% jump, largely due to a big loss recognized the previous year from Amatil's now-sold SPC fruit-packing business.
Amatil declared a final dividend of 26 Australian cents per share, the same as the prior period.
"The continued volume growth in Coca-Cola No Sugar is a testament to consumer enthusiasm for healthier options, and a sign of the strength of our portfolio," said Group Managing Director Alison Watkins. "We've heard the message on consumer wellbeing, and we're delivering with reductions in sugar content across the portfolio of sales."
Amatil has contended with shifting consumer preferences away from sugary, carbonated beverages, especially in its main Australian market. The company said trading revenue in 2019 rose more than 2% in its Australian beverages unit and volumes rose nearly 1%. Earnings from continuing operations, however, fell nearly 2% in the Australia unit.
Looking ahead, Amatil said it expects to deliver mid-single digit earnings per share growth in 2020 and over the medium term. It also said it expected higher earnings growth in the second half of 2020 than the first half.
The company added that it's on watch for the flow-on effects from the bushfires in Australia and the coronavirus outbreak.
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