Pop Goes Out of Greek Coke Sales

coca-cola-hellenicGreece’s biggest company, Coca-Cola Hellenic – planning to move its headquarters to Switzerland – showed a 12 percent drop in profits in the country last year, showing net earnings of 285 million euros, some $379.56 million.

The company blamed the results on a big drop in sales in developed markets to which it distributes, the high cost of raw materials and unfavorable changes in the exchange rate in its report for 2012.

The company said sales in Greece alone fell 14 percent during the country’s crushing economic crisis as consumers hit with big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions have cut back on spending.

Coke is also under siege from competitors who have cut their prices while discounts for Coca Cola are fewer. Generic brands are also undercutting the company’s business.

The company said it expects the slide to continue this year, although it foresees a smaller hike in raw material costs and less of an effect from exchange rate changes although the euro is gaining in strength. Officials said they expect the public offer acceptance period regarding the acquisition of its shares by Coca-Cola HBC AG in Switzerland to start in mid-March.