Even though soda consumption continues to fizzle, beverage
bottlerCoca-Cola Enterprises (
) is still showing some pockets of strength.
Consumption of carbonated soft drinks fell 3% in 2013,
according to Beverage Digest. That marks the ninth straight drop.
Coca-Cola Enterprises, one of the world's biggest bottlers of
Coca-Cola products, has seen strength in Coke Zero and energy
Sales of Coke Zero, which has no carbohydrates and no
calories, grew by double digits in three of the past four
quarters. The drink is targeted at young adult males leery of
girlie diet sodas.
Energy drinks have also been a strong performer for Coca-Cola
Enterprises. Last year, its line of energy drinks grew more than
10%. The company's energy portfolio includes theMonster Beverage
) Monster andCola-Cola (
) Relentless drinks.
Coca-Cola Enterprises will report first-quarter results April
24 before the market's open. The company is expected to deliver
earnings of 44 cents a share, up 13% from a year ago. That would
mark the third straight period of double-digit growth.
Bottom-line growth accelerated in the past two quarters.
The firm's sales are expected at $1.93 billion, up 4% from a
year ago. Revenue rose 5% and 6% in the latest two quarters.
In February, Coca-Cola Enterprises raised its quarterly
dividend by 25% to 25 cents a share. That marked its seventh
straight annual dividend hike. Its dividend has more than doubled
in the past three years.
On an annual basis, Coca-Cola Enterprises pays $1 a share,
which works out to a yield of about 2.2%. Although that is one of
the lowest yields among the 10 dividend payers in the
Beverages-Non Alcoholic group, Coca-Cola Enterprises has the best
Composite Rating among its peers.
Besides dividends, the company has returned cash to
shareholders through stock buybacks. It plans to repurchase about
$800 million of its own shares this year.