Bottler Coca-Cola HBC posts flat Q1 sales

ATHENS Thu May 16, 2013 2:10am EDT

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ATHENS May 16 (Reuters) - Coca-Cola HBC (CCHBC), the world's No. 2 bottler of Coca-Cola posted on Thursday flat sales volumes in the first quarter as strong growth in Russia was offset by weaker demand in austerity-hit EU countries.

The bottler said sales volume was 426.7 million units cases in the first quarter versus an average analysts' forecast of 426 million. First quarter traditionally accounts for a small part of HBC's full-year profit.

CCHBC also posted a slightly narrower loss of 15.9 million euros ($20.45 million) from 19.1 million euros in the same period last year, helped by a slower rise in raw material prices and benefits from cost savings. ($1 = 0.7775 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou)

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