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Coca-Cola Amatil sales slide, market share grows during pandemic-hit half

Coca-Cola Amatil group sales fell 9.2 per cent in the first half of FY20.

After weathering bushfires in its home market and Covid-19 disruption across all the countries it does business, Coca-Cola Amatil says its performance in the fourth quarter will be critical to its full-year result. 

The Australian-listed drinks distributor today recorded a 9.2-per-cent decline in first-half revenue and a tax-paid loss of $8.7 million compared with a profit of $168 million in the same half last year. The loss was largely due to non-trading items of $120.8 million, announced last month relating to Amatil’s Indonesian, Fijian and Samoan businesses. 

“Given the expected ongoing challenging environment, we remain focused in the immediate term on continuing to drive market share gains, growing our presence in e-commerce and on food aggregator platforms, and leveraging the global insights of The Coca-Cola System and our other major brand partners,” said group MD Alison Watkins referring to the six months ahead. 

She said the company was continuing to find ways to cut costs and recalibrate its offer to changing consumer demands in the wake of the pandemic, after finding around $60 million in savings during the first half. 

Margins for the company shrank as consumers turned from buying beverages through high-margin channels to sourcing from supermarkets due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, Watkins said Coca-Cola Amatil had increased its market share during the pandemic, demonstrating the power of its brands, its flexible routes to market and its strong execution capabilities.

Now, with restrictions eased in most markets, the company is seeing signs of improvement. 

“Trading in July has seen group volumes decline by approximately 5 per cent [year on year] and in the first two weeks of August, volumes were down 3 per cent … a significant improvement on the 33-per-cent decline we experienced in April,” said Watkins.

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