Coca-Cola bottler halts Ukraine production and evacuates staff

The London-listed company added that it has scrapped its financial forecasts for the current year due to the conflict.

03 March 2022

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) has temporarily stopped production at its Kyiv factory and evacuated employees following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The London-listed company, which has seen shares plunge in recent weeks due to its exposure to Russia and Ukraine, added that it has scrapped its forecasts for the current year due to the conflict.

Coca-Cola HBC generated roughly 20% of its sales volumes and profits in 2021 from Russia and Ukraine.

“The safety of our employees is our highest priority,” the company said in a statement.

“We remain in constant contact with our people in Ukraine and Russia and are doing everything we can to support them.”

It said production at the Kyiv site was suspended on February 24 as the Russian invasion began.

The group told shareholders that the situation involving the two countries “has clearly developed further and faster than anticipated”.

Coca-Cola HBC said it is “still too early” to quantify the impact of the crisis and the developing reactions of international governments on the company’s operations.

The company said it believes it is therefore no longer prudent to provide financial guidance for the current year.

The drinks business said it is prepared to use actions to drive revenue growth, including price increases, to offset currency depreciation and rising input costs due to the conflict.

It is also ready to move marketing funds and capital expenditure investment to other markets, it said.

The company added: “We will update accordingly when we have greater visibility on the impact of the events in the Ukraine and Russia on our business.”

Shares in the company moved 4.1% lower in early trading.

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