(Alliance News) - Drink bottling company Coca-Cola HBC AG on Wednesday lifted its dividend and announced "record" annual profit.

Shares in the company surged 5.2% to 2,321.00 pence each in London on Wednesday morning, the best large-cap performer.

The firm, which operates in nations including Cyprus, Greece and Italy, said net sales revenue surged 11% in 2023 to EUR10.18 billion, from EUR9.20 billion in 2022. Net sales fell shy of the Vuma cited consensus of EUR10.25 billion.

Pretax profit shot up 46% to EUR910.3 million from EUR623.6 million, but was shy of consensus of EUR976.3 million.

Organic revenue in 2023 jumped 17%, ahead of consensus of a 16% surge, however.

"I am deeply proud of our team as we delivered a third year of double-digit growth and record profits," Chief Executive Officer Zoran Bogdanovic said.

The CEO added: "2023 was another year of consistent execution of our growth strategy. We delivered volume growth, share gains, improved margins and record levels of free cash flow. As a result, we were able to increase shareholder returns, including the launch of a share buyback programme."

Coca-Cola HBC proposed an ordinary 2023 dividend of EUR0.93 per share, up 19% from 2022. It had launched a EUR400 million two-year share buyback programme in November.

For 2024, it targets organic revenue growth in its 6% to 7% medium-term target range.

By Eric Cunha, Alliance News news editor

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