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Coca-Cola Enterprises shows solid 2010 growth

December 20, 2010
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Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), Atlanta, said it expects to achieve 2011 comparable and currency neutral earnings per diluted common share growth in a range of 10 to 12 percent. The company also affirmed its guidance for full-year 2010 in a range of $1.74 to $1.78, reflecting solid business performance and outlook, it says.

In addition, the company said it has initiated a previously disclosed share repurchase plan and expects to repurchase approximately $200 million in shares by the close of the fourth quarter 2010. This action is in keeping with the company’s goal of repurchasing approximately $1 billion of its shares by the end of the first quarter 2012.
This guidance reflects performance for all territories of the new CCE, a recently registered public company consisting of legacy CCE’s European bottling operations in Belgium, France, Great Britain, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, as well as bottling operations in Norway and Sweden acquired from The Coca-Cola Co., the company says.
“Our business continues to deliver strong results and create a positive environment for growth in 2011 and beyond,” said John F. Brock, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “We operate in markets with proven growth profiles and excellent potential for the short and long term. Our operating expectations for both 2010 and 2011 meet or exceed our long-term growth targets, with our 2011 earnings per share outlook ahead of target as a result of share repurchase. Though we are a new company, we have a proven record of growth in Europe, and we intend to build on that record in the years ahead.”
For full-year 2010, pro forma revenue is expected to be approximately $7.4 billion with operating income just more than $900 million. This outlook includes an expected negative currency impact of approximately 10 cents per share based on year-to-date currency translation at actual rates and expected December currency translation at recent rates. It also includes expectations for recurring items, capital structure, tax rate, and results for Norway and Sweden.
Looking ahead to 2011, the company expects free cash flow of approximately $425 million, with capital expenditures of approximately $400 million. Weighted average cost of debt is expected to be approximately 3 percent, and the effective tax rate for 2011 is expected to be in a range of 26 percent to 28 percent. Guidance excludes items affecting comparability and is currency neutral.

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