Bottler Coca-Cola HBC raises 2022 profit outlook on steady demand

Coca-Cola HBC AG raised its full-year profit forecast on Tuesday, as the soft drinks bottler benefits from price hikes and strong demand for its sodas.

Sky-high inflation has pinched household budgets and forced consumers to cut down on spending, but packaged food makers have so far seen steady demand for their products despite raising prices.

HBC said it expected a comparable operating profit between 860 million euros and 900 million euros ($860.43 million and $900.45 million) for 2022, compared with an earlier forecast of between 740 million euros and 820 million euros.

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and rival PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) raised their full-year forecasts in October as the two top sugary soda makers benefit from multiple price increases.

“So far, we have seen limited evidence of changing consumer behaviour, but are alert to this possibility and can adapt quickly if needed,” HBC Chief Executive Officer Zoran Bogdanovic said.

HBC expects a double-digit organic revenue growth at a group level in 2022, after reporting a 19.6% rise for the third quarter, excluding Russia and Ukraine.

In August, HBC started making a local drink, Dobry Cola, in Russia after stopping production and sales of Coca-Cola products. The move came after the mass exodus of Western companies due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

HBC, one of Coca-Cola’s many bottlers worldwide, holds local Coca-Cola franchises to bottle and sell drinks produced by the U.S. beverage giant. Coca-Cola holds more than a 20% stake in HBC.

Switzerland-headquartered HBC’s portfolio ranges from alcoholic beverages such as The Macallan and Jack Daniel’s to carbonated drinks Sprite and Monster Energy to Bambi biscuits and wafers.