There is a whole lot of numbers in this food news item about the sales of Coca-Cola nationwide. And the number crunchers at Coke will be very happy indeed…

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd has delivered a 16.4 per cent rise in full year net profit, and says it expects earnings growth in the first half of calendar 2010 “in the high single digits”. Describing its full year result as a “record”, CC Amatil posted net profit for calendar 2009 of $449 million, up from $385.6 million in the previous year.

Before significant items, net profit was up 11.1 per cent to $449 million, on total trading revenue growth of 7.6 per cent to $4.40 billion. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose by 10.3 per cent to $787.3 million. The company declared a final dividend of 25 cents, fully franked, up from 22 cents in the prior year.

“Coca-Cola Amatil delivered a record result for the 2009 full year,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. It expects “high single-digit earnings growth for the first half of 2010… assuming a continuation of current trading conditions”. CC Amatil managing director Terry Davis said the result reflected a “strong performance in what were challenging trading conditions”.

“The significant investments made by the company over the last three years in capacity, operational capability and cold drink coolers, as well as successful new product and package innovation, continues to distinguish the performance of CCA from its food and beverage peer group,” Mr Davis said.

He said year highlights included strong performances by the Indonesia and PNG and Australian Beverage businesses, a recovery in the second half by the New Zealand business and earnings growth of more than 20 per cent by the company’s Food & Services Division. Mr Davis said the Australian beverage result had been driven by successful new product and package innovation, increased cold drink availability and higher levels of customer service.

The cost savings from Project Zero, CCA’s major infrastructure capital investment program, as well as the earnings contribution from the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic beverages were other key drivers. “Whilst we experienced some trading down in the first half in high-end restaurants and cafes, this was offset by improved product mix and increased demand in quick service restaurants and supermarkets for at-home consumption,” Mr Davis said.

“Demand for single-serve beverages has remained strong throughout the year due to the success of CCAs cold drink cooler renewal program.”

Mr Davis said the company had identified a strong pipeline of revenue generating and cost saving capital projects over the next three years, including the self manufacture of PET bottles in Australia and Indonesia, a material increase in beverage production capacity and the accelerated placement of cold drink coolers across the Group, and commissioning a brewery for boutique brewer, Bluetongue.

“All of these projects will drive short and medium term earnings growth,” Mr Davis said.

“The decision to maintain our up-weighted capital investment program through the global financial crisis in order to reduce operating costs and materially improve customer service levels has again provided the platform for increased business, leading to higher returns for our shareholders.” He said CC Amatil expected “high single-digit earnings growth for the first half of 2010”, assuming a continuation of current trading conditions.

CC Amatil says it will deliver a trading and profit update for the first half of 2010 at its annual general meeting on Friday, May 14 2010.

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