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CCE slashes earnings forecast

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/08/04

Coca-Cola Enterprises sharply cut its 2004 earnings expectations Wednesday, citing softer-than-expected trends in sales volume.

The Atlanta-based bottler expects full-year earnings to range from $1.26 to $1.30 per share, excluding a nonrecurring item of 5 cents per share.

In July, when CCE announced its second-quarter earnings, the company provided guidance of $1.48 to $1.52 for the year.

CCE also said it now expects full-year sales volume to drop 1 percent in North America and 3 percent in Europe.

To save money and boost cash flow, CCE will cut its 2004 capital spending by $100 million.

"We are taking action to preserve our free cash flow through reductions in capital spending, close management of our working capital, and ongoing efforts to maximize efficiency as we work through these disappointing short-term results," said John Alm, CCE's president and CEO, in a prepared statement.

CCE released its news as a prelude to a presentation scheduled for Thursday at a Prudential Equity Group conference.



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