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UPDATE 1-Australia's Coca-Cola Amatil sees H1 profit down 15 pct; shares dive
April 11, 2014 / 1:29 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Coca-Cola Amatil sees H1 profit down 15 pct; shares dive

* Company has started review of business strategy

* Hit by weak domestic consumer spending, rising Indonesia costs (Adds CCA’s H1 earnings a year ago, share move)

SYDNEY, April 11 (Reuters) - Australia’s Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (CCA) forecast core earnings to fall about 15 percent in the first half of 2014 on weak domestic consumer spending and rising costs in Indonesia, sending its shares sliding to a 4-1/2 year low.

The food and beverage company also said it has started a review of its business strategy under the group’s new managing director, Alison Watkins, who came to the job six weeks ago.

The downbeat forecast comes after CCA in February booked an 83 percent decline in annual net profit, its worst profit in 20 years.

The CCA forecast for the decline in 2014 first-half profit refers to earnings before interest, tax and significant items, which was A$373.9 million in the first half of 2013.

“The grocery channel continues to be challenging with aggressive pricing activity which has limited CCA’s ability to recover cost increases while consumer demand in the non-grocery channel has been soft in the first quarter and there has been a mix shift to lower margin customers,” Watkins said in a statement.

CCA shares were changing hands 12.8 percent lower at A$9.93 in morning trade. At one point, they fell as low as A$9.91 - their lowest level since October 2009.

They have plunged 31.5 percent over the past year, compared with a 8.6 percent gain in the broader market.

Reporting by Lincoln Feast and Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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