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Coca-Cola Enterprises Projects High Earnings

Thu, 12/15/2011 - 4:09am

ATLANTA (AP) — Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., which bottles and sells Coca-Cola drinks in Europe, said that its full-year earnings will likely come in at the higher end of its prior forecast.

Coca-Cola Enterprises previously predicted earnings between $2.14 and $2.18 per share, which includes a 15 cents per share foreign exchange benefit. It anticipates a mid-single-digit percentage increase in revenue.

Analysts expect full-year earnings of $2.16 per share on revenue of $8.3 billion, according to a FactSet survey.

Coca-Cola Enterprises posted revenue of $6.71 billion in 2010. FactSet analysts' predictions suggest revenue growth of 24 percent.

Coca-Cola Enterprises predicts its 2011 gross margins will probably decline modestly but that operating margins will be up modestly, which is comparable to its performance in 2010.

Like many food and beverage makers, Coca-Cola Enterprises has raised prices to offset higher costs. The bottler said in October that rising costs would likely put pressure on its margins for the rest of the year.

The company anticipates its 2012 earnings per share will rise 10 percent to 12 percent, with a mid-single-digit to high-single-digit percentage increase in revenue.

The company said the outlook does not include the possible impact of a proposed tax increase in France, which would likely weigh on volumes if passed.

Coca-Cola Enterprises also said Thursday that it expects to buy back $500 million worth of stock in 2012 on top of $1 billion it expects to buy back this year.

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