ATLANTA – Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (CCE), the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products, lowered its full-year earnings outlook and put its third-quarter forecast below analysts' expectations due to softer-than-expected volume trends.
The news sent the company's shares down $1.18, or 5.7 percent, to $19.41 Wednesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange (search).
For the year, the Atlanta company said Wednesday it now expects earnings in a range of $1.21 to $1.25 a share. Excluding a second-quarter nonrecurring item of 5 cents, full year earnings are expected to be $1.26 to $1.30 a share.
On July 29, Coca-Cola Enterprises said it expected earnings at the low end of its previous forecast of $1.48 to $1.52 a share, excluding items.
Wall Street expects Coca-Cola Enterprises to earn $1.39 a share in 2004, according to Thomson First Call.
In 2003, the company earned $676 million, or $1.46 a share, on revenue of $17.33 billion. Before items, earnings were $1.32 a share.
The company said the revised forecast reflects the continuing impact of softer-than-expected volume trends in North America and Europe.
For the third-quarter, earnings are expected to be about 38 cents to 40 cents a share. Analysts are expecting third-quarter earnings of 49 cents a share, according to First Call. Last year earnings were 56 cents a share, which included a tax benefit of a penny a share and a gain of 2 cents a share for foreign currency translations.
Coca-Cola Enterprises expects cash flow from operations, less capital spending, to remain unchanged at about $700 million.
The company said full-year capital spending will be reduced to offset lower operating performance. The company now expects total capital spending of about $1 billion for the full year, down from $1.1 billion projected earlier this year.
Full-year North American volume is expected to fall about 1 percent, with European volume projected to decline about 3 percent.
Coca-Cola Enterprises bottles about 21 percent of all Coca-Cola beverages sold worldwide, as well as other soft drinks such as Canada Dry (search) and Dr. Pepper (search). The Coca-Cola Co. (KO) owns about 37 percent of the company.
Shares of The Coca-Cola Co. traded Wednesday at $44.60, down $1.05, or 2.3 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.