Coca-Cola Enterprises Profits Declines

Beverage giant hurt by hurricanes

Published in CSP Daily News

ATLANTA -- Third-quarter profits at Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., Atlanta, fell 7.2% after hurricanes disrupted sales, according to an Associated Press report. The Atlanta-based company Thursday trimmed its full-year outlook, saying the effect of recent storms will continue to hurt fourth-quarter performance.

Shares of Coca-Cola Enterprises slipped 59 cents, or 3%, to close at $18.86 on the New York Stock Exchange. Net income fell to $192 million, or 40 cents a share, in the latest quarter, from $207 million, or 44 cents a share, a year earlier.[image-nocss] p>

Income for the latest period includes a charge of $24 million, or 4 cents a share, for restructuring in the company's North American business. It also includes an asset write-off of 3 cents a share for Hurricane Katrina. Excluding items, Coca-Cola Enterprises earned 47 cents a share, matching the average estimate of Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Coca-Cola Enterprises said charges incurred for the latest quarter don't cover damaged property and equipment in the New Orleans area. Revenue in the latest period climbed 4.85 to $4.9 billion from $4.67 billion. The company reported a volume decline in Europe, as carbonated soft-drink trends remained soft.

For 2005, Coca-Cola Enterprises trimmed its earnings per share estimates to a range of $1.27 to $1.30, citing the business effect of recent hurricanes as well as higher fuel prices. Wall Street had expected the company's full-year profit to increase to $1.30 a share from $1.27 a share a year earlier.

The company plans to bring back about $500 million in foreign profit to the United States during the fourth quarter thanks to new corporate tax break. The federal government this year allowed companies to repatriate their earnings from abroad at a tax rate of 5.25% rather than at the usual rate of 35%.