Coca-Cola's Management Presents at Deutsche Bank Global Consumer Conference (Transcript)

| About: Coca-Cola European (CCE)
This article is now exclusive for PRO subscribers.

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE:CCE) Deutsche Bank Global Consumer Conference Transcript June 19, 2012 10:45 AM ET


John Brock – Chairman

Bill Douglas – Chief Financial Officer

Thor Erickson – Vice President, Investor Relations


Unidentified Analyst

Okay. Hello. Enterprises. Very happy to have John Brock and Bill Douglas back at the conference this year. You guys are more than welcome to stay. And without further ado, I hand it over to the team. Thanks.

John Brock

Thanks everyone. Good afternoon. I’m pleased to be here with you today to talk a little bit about Coca-Cola Enterprises including our goals, our objectives and the answer to your questions. Joining me today are Bill Douglas, who is our Chief Financial Officer; and Thor Erickson, who is Vice President of Investor Relations.

Before we begin, I’d like to ask you to take a look at our forward-looking comments because all of our comments should be considered in conjunction with the cautionary language in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent SEC filings. A copy of this info is available on our website at

As most of you know, in October 2010, we completed a transaction with the Coca-Cola Company that transformed Coca-Cola Enterprises and into the company we are today, as we sold our entire North American business and we acquired the Coca-Cola Company’s bottling businesses in both Norway and Sweden.

This created a new CCE that today is the preeminent Western European Coca-Cola bottler and one of Coca-Cola Company’s largest bottling partners. In the process, good news, we unlock significant shareowner value. And we established a company that’s clearly focused on driving growth and creating value.

We’re building on success with the proven track record of growth, a strong commitment to shareowners and a clear operating framework which guides our company. We are driving growth and we are delivering value with the right brands, the right markets and we are doing it sustainably and in the right way.

So what does CCE look like today? We’re a company which had revenue in 2011 of $8.3 billion. We served some 170 million consumers who consume more than 30 billion servings of our products each year, a total reached through six consecutive years of growth.

We manufacture our products at 17 locations, each a component of our Pan-European supply chain. We have a total workforce of more than 13,000, including one of the largest sales forces of any consumer products companies in our territories.

Most importantly, CCE has proven that we have the size, the scope, the plans and the teams to continue to be an effective competitor in what is a very attractive category and this is despite having to navigate a challenging macro economic environment. We are optimistic about our ability to create sustained growth. This is inline with or above our long-term growth objectives. Much of the reason for this optimism is impact our track record as well as the balanced nature of our business.

For the past six years, we focused on creating value of our customers, consumers and shareowners and we are committed to doing so in the future. We’ve managed and we’ve executed through dynamic and often challenging times to drive sustained and balanced operating income growth. For example, over the past six years we have achieved average annual upgrading income growth of more than 8.5% each year, even as we continue to face ongoing macro economic weakness.

We have a solid balance sheet, strong free cash flow and a clear focus on creating value for each stakeholder in our company. Our results and our actions clearly demonstrate our commitment to increasing shareowner value.

We continue to create value and we return cash to shareowners through increased dividends. And we instituted a 23% increase earlier this year and in fact have a three year compound annual dividend growth of 22%.

In addition, we’ve already completed a $1 billion share repurchase program that started late in 2010. This year we began a second $1 billion share repurchase program with a goal of at least $500 million in repurchases by the end of this year. These initiatives remain possible for our continuing strong free cash flow as well as our focused on driving shareowner value.

At the core of this growth is a focused approach to our business. For more than five years, our work has been guided by a very clear operating framework, which creates a vision, clear strategic priorities and very clear financial objectives.

Our plans and all of our actions regarded by three priorities, first, to be number one or number two in every category for we choose to compete. Second, to be our customers’ most valued supplier and third to create a winning inclusive culture that attracts, develops and retains a highly talented and diverse workforce.

For those of you who follow our company closely, these priorities are very familiar. Yet, they remain as vital and as relevant as ever and they are essential through our success as we continue to drive consistent long-term profitable growth.

Clearly, our primary focus is to drive sustainable value building growth. And let’s discuss the strategies and the initiatives that are at the heart of that growth and that enable us to continue to deliver value for our stakeowners.

Sustained growth is attainable impart because the nonalcoholic ready-to-drink category or NARTD is the largest fast moving consumer goods category in our territories. This category experienced value growth of 6.5% in our territories last year 2011 despite the overall difficult economic environment, which is a very impressive demonstration of the categories potential.

Currently, our sparkling brands including perhaps the worlds most recognized brand Coca-Cola remain integral through our success. And we will continue to drive a substantial amount of our growth. We’ve also worked to opportunistically drive growth in other segments. For example, we’ve expanded our portfolio in stills, energy drinks and water.

In stills, we are growing with Capri-Sun, Ocean Spray and vitaminwater. We also continue to develop our sports drink portfolio building on a dual platform of Aquarius and Powerade. And we are relaunching our Nestea brand with the alternative sweetened stevia. Monster, Nalu, Relentless, Burn and Powerade Energy provide a solid presence in energy. And in water, we’re achieving growth with both Chaudfontaine and Schweppes Abbey Well.

This diverse brand portfolio is creating a balance of growth. While, our overall volume mix and volume growth continuous to skew principally to colas, our ability to broaden our portfolio and to succeed in other categories, most importantly stills and energy demonstrates the increasing value of our portfolio strategy.

We have a successful position within the highly competitive in NARTD category both from a volume and value share perspective. But we must continue to focus on meeting customer and consumer needs to sustain our success.

A primary component of our future success is our ability to continue the growth of the Coca-Cola brand. In fact, during 2011 our core Red, Black, and Silver portfolio grew more than 3%, generating two thirds of our total volume growth last year and continuing an excellent trend.

A key to the success of our Coca-Cola trademark brand is the ongoing growth of the Coca-Cola Zero. This incredible brand remains central to our overall growth plans. It was up more than 15% last year as well as on our compounded basis over the last three years. There is an exciting 2012 marketing calendar for Coca-Cola trademark brands, which obviously includes the upcoming London Olympics and Paralympics, as well as the Euro 2012 Soccer Championship.

We also will have additional package innovation this year with a new 375 milliliter package that will strengthen our cold immediate consumption sales. We also continue to develop our sparkling flavor and energy portfolio, which combined, contributed some 20% of our total 2011 volume growth.

Sparkling flavor growth was driven primarily by Fanta, Dr. Pepper, and Sprite, each established brands with very solid potential. Though a relatively small segment, energy is a dynamic part of the overall NARTD category with both solid volume and value growth.

In 2011, we grew energy volume more than 40% and realized a two point increase in both volume and value share. Our energy portfolio includes the brands of Burn, Relentless, Nalu and Monster. For 2012, we have important innovation and activation planned for both of these segments, including additional flavors packaging and promotions.

While stills represent a smaller portion of our total volume, this segment of our business continues to perform well with a compound annual growth rate of some 7% over the last three years. In fact, still brands were responsible for about 10% of our total volume growth last year driven like Capri-Sun and Ocean Spray juice drinks, Chaudfontaine and Schweppes Abbey Well Waters as well as Powerade.

To maintain this momentum in 2012, we will continue to build on the success of our brands. We will activate Powerade and vitaminwater with our Olympic programing and continue to innovate with new packaging flavors and sweeteners.

Now, let’s turn to a few of the programs that will have drive our growth this year. We are truly fortunate to have the rare opportunity to participate in the London Olympics as well as the Paralympic games, the second largest sporting event in the world.

The Olympics is a signature, legacy building event that has been part of our marketplace execution since late 2010 with multi-year customer plans. It allows us to highlight some brands, including Red, Black and Silver portfolio, Powerade, vitaminwater.

It also allows us to cease marketplace opportunities with programs such as the Olympic Torch Relay and win tickets, and with venue activation that creates meaningful engagement with consumers.

Our Olympic goals are clear, to create a sustainable, ecologically balanced legacy for our operations, to strengthen customer relationships and to increase brand equity. We believe we are well in our way to meeting each of these goals.

Through Olympic activation, we continue to see first hand the enthusiasm of both our customers as well, sorry, as well as our employees in making the most out of this incredible opportunity.

Our internal communication channels are brimming, with employee sharing photos and ideas for new expanded displays and increase activation, as well as supporting ticket promotion, the torch relay and other Olympic activities.

Maximizing the value of the Olympics is proving to be a point of pride for our employees who are more motivated then ever before to enhance our Olympic participation, to build our brands and help strengthen the partnerships with our customers.

In addition to Olympic related events, we have other marketing activation in place, such the renewed emphasis on caffeine free beverages and later in the year a tie-in with the new James Bond film called Skyfall.

We’ve had activation around Great Britain’s Diamond Jubilee which is the celebration that Queen Elizabeth 60-year reign and we are currently in the midst of the European Soccer Championships better know as Euro 2012, which is a highlight in many of our territories including France.

In addition, we have strong traditional programs supporting Coke with food and Christmas activation.

Now let’s take a look at some of the media that’s being use to support our Euro 2012 an Olympic programming highlighting our Coca-Cola trademark and Powerade brands, let’s have a look.


Okay. We hope you enjoyed those and we hope that they help the understanding of the ways that we are building our brands, ceasing marketplace opportunities and connecting with both customers and consumers.

Now let’s take a brief look at the territories that make up our company and some of the key elements of their businesses. Let start with Great Britain, our largest territory representing more than a third of our total revenue with per capita consumption of 2010 servings per year.

Importantly, we have been rated number one with our customers for eight years in a row and that means that we are viewed by our customers independently is the best fast moving consumer goods company in Great Britain.

We have worked extremely hard to utilize our Olympic work to build on this success and believe we are well-positioned for future growth even as we overcome microeconomic issues.

Now, let’s turn to France, which is our second largest territory represents almost 30% of our business. Since we acquired this territory in 1998, our company has increased per capita consumption here more than 50% to almost 150%, yet that remains relatively low compared to our other territories and we believe there continues to be significant growth opportunities here in France.

In fact our business in France has performed extremely well, over the past few years with solid volume and value share within the NARTD category. In addition, we have dramatically improved the level of service to our customers and we like Great Britain are now the number one rated fast moving consumer goods company in France for the first time last year.

And while we face the ongoing impact of additional excise taxes, we believe our brand portfolio and our operational success will continue to create opportunities here for long-term growth.

Our Benelux division consists of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Belgium and the Netherlands are two very different markets that combine to form a very successful business unit.

Belgium has achieved per capita consumption of more than 340% which is among the highest in Europe and relied importantly on direct store delivery for about one-third of our total volume there. We have an excellent presence in the on premise business in Belgium, as well as a very diversified brand portfolio.

The Netherlands is CCE’s oldest territory it was acquired by CCE in 1993, per capita consumption is about 146% and we rely exclusively there on indirect third-party delivery. Importantly, again, our service is meeting our customer’s needs and we are number on fast moving rated consumer good supplier there.

Our two newest territories are Norway and Sweden, which we acquired from the Coca-Cola Company with completion of our transaction in October of 2010. Combined these territories represent about 12% of our total revenue.

Norway, a relatively high per cap market with the number of 248%, they were in the process of implementing a significant change in our business structure. As we’ve discussed previously, we will move from using returnable packaging and direct store delivery to non-returnable packaging and a focus on third-party indirect store delivery.

This will enable us to provide the service that our customers expect devote more resources to execution in the marketplace and in turn strengthen our ability to grow there in the long term.

In Sweden, which has per caps of about 175, we made excellent progress in fully integrating operations there into our company. Sweden continues to rely on some part of direct store delivery and is benefiting very much as we implement the CCE way of doing business, continues to achieve very high levels of customer service and support.

Of course, customer service, being our customers’ most valued supplier and providing ever increasing levels of customer service is at the heart of our ability to move our company forward. We’ve made excellent progress in this area as I indicated earlier for the first time, our customer’s rate us as the number one fast-moving consumer good supplier in all of our legacy territories.

We will continue to enhance our customer centric Pan-European supply chain to improve procurement and continue to improve effectiveness and efficiency. This word carries a very clear goal, strengthen our customer relationships and improve our service, ultimately creating sustainable growth and value for our customers.

Creating growth requires not only outstanding service and a successful brand portfolio but a balanced approach to every aspect of our business through our customer value creation model. This includes prudent investment in the latest technology for our best-in-class sales force and world class selling and revenue management capabilities.

For example, through revenue growth management, we offer customers price and package options that maximize value for them while growing the category and our brands. We also continue to find new ways to leverage best practice across our territories.

We have implemented an internal sales communication channel to allow media cheering of ideas and practices with more than 4,000 employees now participating. These elements combined with world class execution allow us to profitably capture opportunities in all channels while diligently focusing on cost controls.

As you know, one of our strategic priorities focuses on our people. We are committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce and providing our employees with opportunities to build their careers. The result of this commitment which we began more than four years ago is a highly skill dedicated employee group that has delivered on six years of meaningful value driving growth.

This per employee development we’ve instituted the CCE Academy, which takes a cross functional and cross geographical approach to invest in our people and to help drive engagement. All across our territories, our employees strive to serve customers better and execute flawlessly everyday. This is the CCE way.

It’s very important to note that all of our employees are working to grow our business in a responsible, sustainable way. In fact, in a recent employee survey, our people listed corporate responsibility and sustainability as one of the top three key drivers in engagement with us.

More than ever, our customers, consumers and communities expect us to work toward world-class sustainability. As a result, CRS is a pillar of our operating framework and it’s part of every decision we make.

Our sustainability plan, which we call deliver for today, inspire for tomorrow includes three priorities. First, to deliver progress against our commitments today. Second, to lead the industry and energy and climate change as well as sustainable packaging and recycling which are the two areas where we believe we can make the biggest difference., And third, to innovate for the future by finding opportunities for innovation, collaboration and sponsorship.

Now, I’ll ask Bill Douglas, our Chief Financial Officer to come up and discuss our financial outlook for 2012 as well as our long-term objectives. Bill.

Bill Douglas

Thanks John. It’s a pleasure to be here today to discuss what we believe is a solid financial outlook for Coca-Cola Enterprises. We have a clear set of financial priorities that guide us in our financial decisions.

It is essential that we deliver consistent earnings growth in line and occasionally above our long-term objectives. We also want to maximize free cash flow and maintain our financial flexibility allowing us to be prepared for new opportunities when they present.

And we will increase return on invested capital which is essential in driving shareowner returns over the long-term. Ultimately, we have a clear goal for the future, drive shareowner value to organic growth, value creating investments and optimize capital structure and by returning cash to shareowners to dividends and share repurchases.

To achieve our goals, we must continue to meet and occasionally exceed the long-term growth objectives that we established with the creation of our company in 2010. Long-term growth objectives that exceed the standard of old CCE.

Long-term, we expect revenue growth of 4% to 6%. Operating income growth of 6% to 8% and high single digit earnings per share growth. In addition, we anticipate at least a 20 basis point improvement in return on invested capital annually.

We expect these results to be driven by a balance of both volume and price growth as well as the impact of mix. This will be combined with disciplined operational efficiencies and cost containment.

These objectives we created are challenging. Yet, we are optimistic about our ability to consistently achieve these levels of performance, given our track record as well as the opportunities we see ahead for growth.

A whole market performance for CCE has been and will continue to be strong and consistent free cash flow. We have a disciplined approach to using this free cash flow and our primary uses continue to be capital expenses, potential acquisitions and importantly, returning cash to shareowners.

An important element of our future success is our ability to maintain financial flexibility. As you can see, we have achieved continued improvement in our net debt to EBITDA over the time period from 2002. In 2011, net debt to EBITDA was approximately 1.7 times well below our stated long-term target of 2.5 to 3 times.

Over the longer term, we expect to operate within this 2.5 to 3 times target and we will provide additional information on how and when we expect to reach these levels as we move further along on our share repurchase journey and updates on any potential acquisitions.

As I mentioned, we have a long-term target of improving return on invested capital by at least 20 basis points per annum. Reaching this goal requires a combination of growth, as well as prudent investment.

We will drive operating growth by growing our organic business and controlling our cost environment. We also will selectively invest in high return opportunities and manage working capital and optimize our capital structure to drive balance sheet value.

As we manage our cash flows debt and capital expenditures, we will do so as we identify and evaluate high return investment opportunities including potential acquisitions. While, our primary focus remains investing in our core business to ensure we’re optimally equipped for growth. We will carefully evaluate acquisition opportunities.

We will determine what drinks CCE can bring to the business and decide whether the acquisition will create additional value for our shareowners. Importantly, any opportunity will be evaluated against several alternatives, including returning cash to shareowners.

Since the close of the transaction creating the new CCE in October of 2010, we have clearly demonstrated a visible commitment to returning cash to shareowners, through a combination of outstanding business performance and from the transaction with Coca-Cola Company over the past two years we’ve returned over $4.8 billion to shareowners. This is an outstanding number and includes a spacial cash distribution at the time at the closer of the transaction.

Looking ahead, we initiated a new $1 billion program in January of this year with a goal of at least $500 million in repurchases by the end of 2012. We believe these actions are clear evidence of our commitment to return cash to shareowners. And as these actions demonstrate, we are committed to increasing shareowner returns both through share repurchases and increasing dividens.

In fact, earlier this year, we increased our dividend by 23% to 16 shares on a quarterly basis or $0.64 on an annualized basis. This represents a more than doubling of our dividend since 2009.

Now let’s take a moment to review our outlook for 2012. We continue to manage the levers of our business to achieve our overall objective. Today, we affirmed our 2012 EPS guidance with growth of approximately 10%, modestly revise revenue guidance in a range of mid to high single-digit growth reflecting second quarter expectations and affirmed our operating income guidance in a mid single-digit growth range.

Import to note, this guidance is comparable and currency neutral, and includes the impact of the recently enacted tax increase here in France. As per currency translation, this is now expected to have a negative high single-digit impact on EPS for the full year 2012. It is important to know, despite a few short-term headwinds, our business fundamentals remain intact and we continue to focus on the marketplace opportunities that lie before us.

These targets are inline with or exceed our long-term objectives and we expect solid business results and share repurchase over the near-term to drive currency neutral EPS growth above our long-term target.

So in closing the financial section let me summarize a few key thoughts. First, we have a solid history of top and bottom line growth with outstanding brands and expanding portfolio and a talented skill team that understand how to execute and when in the marketplace.

Second, we have a flexible capital structure that provides significant opportunities with regard to acquisitions and returning cash to shareowners.

Third, we have long-term objectives that are challenging yet achievable and represent levels to performance that we believe will drive increasing value. And last, our 2012 targets are achievable and inline with our long-term expectations.

Thanks again. And now, I’ll turn it over to John for few closing thoughts.

John Brock

Thanks, Bill. We are really in confident about our ability to drive value for our shareowners in 2012 and beyond. So please note, we are realistic that there are risks ahead. For example, we continue to face the challenging macro-economic environment, commodity cost remain volatile as well.

We faced changing consumer test and preferences with an increasing focus on the impact of all commercial foods and beverages on health and well being. And of course, there is a potential for new taxes on our products and packages. As we’ve seen this year in France this could have an impact on future volumes and prices.

While, well aware of these risks, we remain confident and the ability of our team to manage through these challenges and for our business to drive and grow. We’re executing against our strategic priorities and building on our history of solid balanced growth.

We have challenging yet achievable financial targets that are focused on driving long-term growth and delivering increased shareowner value. And while the current economic environment remains challenging. We are in position to deliver our 2012 objectives which are inline with or exceed long-term targets.

Thanks very much for your time and interest. Now, we’ll be glad to take a couple of questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Unidentified Analyst

John, can I just start with the quick one. Is there anyway to sort of just aggravate how much of the volume softness these quarter really the weather versus the macro situation. And is the only change without your guidance to just this quarter coming a little less expectation, does that fair?

John Brock

Yeah. That’s fair. The weather in Europe is I think most of you, who are from Europe know has been pretty abysmal, March was beautiful, but April, May and June have been abnormally wet and cold. And the slight revision in revenue that we gave for the year was totally due to weather in the second quarter.

Unidentified Analyst

Got it. For the back half it’s completely intact relative to your…

John Brock

Back half is intact. We’re locked and loaded. I was in the market in GB last week and France a week before. The activation we have around the Euro 2012, The Torch Relay, the Olympics and Paralympics is absolutely phenomenal and ready for activation. So we are excited about the second half of the year.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. Question? Yeah. Okay.

Unidentified Analyst

Could you talk about, and yeah, yeah, yeah, hi…

John Brock

Okay. There you are.

Unidentified Analyst

Hi. Could you talk about in cost, the commodity cost, maybe for next year and with the weakness that we have seen in some of a key commodities and especial in the -- about sugar what could happen, please?

John Brock

Yeah. Let me ask Bill Douglas to comment on that one. Bill?

Bill Douglas

Hi there. We gave guidance in April that our cost of good sold inflation for 2012 would be up 3.5% to 4%. Embedded in our revise full year guidance today, I think with the softening in the topline, there is also implicit in that of slight improvement and the overall outlook for the remainder of the year from a commodity perspective.

Having said that, we do operate a fairly sophisticated hedging program, so we were reasonably hedged on a number of commodities, the significant exposure that we do have since to be oil related with respect to PET and fuel. So we are going to have some benefit given the recent softness in the last 60 days in that arena.

Having said that, it’s a little premature to start going forward to 2013, we normally will do in December when we’ll give our outlook for the next year. But I would caution you, when you look at the cogs and commodity environment, there are number of factors that you have consider, it’s not only what’s the current spot, but what is our 2012 hedge position, what will our 2013 hedge position would be on all the various commodities, as well as conversing cost.

And then as you rightly pointed out within our operations all of our markets with the exception of Norway operate within the EU sugar regime, which is not moving and vying with world sugar markets. So that isn’t showing the same softness as some of the other commodities that we do have in our basket.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. Thank you. Any other questions. [Right here]

Unidentified Analyst

John, I wonder, if I could ask you to reflect a little bit on -- it has been a couple of years since the whole bottler consolidation in the United States and here you are, you used to the bottler and you got all kinds of different routes to market, some of which you must have other brands on the trucks on which your third-party.

When you look at sort of five or six years in these markets, what further change do you see in terms of the ownership of the system. Again if you look back and see how much Coke has been able to bring out into the system in United States, it must be slightly sobering in a way.

So do you see any more changes in Europe? Do you see yourself going back and owning anything in the United States at some stage in the future and then what part of that might you own?

John Brock

You’ve got lot of questions tied up in there. Let me just say in Europe, I think we are fortunate because we really like the business model with which we compete day in and day out in terms of distribution specifically route to market.

It’s good news because we can optimize it by market, by channel, by customer and as a result we have a significant DSD presence in Belgium where we have a very significant on-premise business, almost half our market in Belgium is in that category. And that works beautifully.

Great Britain, it’s under 10%. Norway was totally DSD. And as you heard me say, we’re completely converting it away from direct store delivery to central warehouse and also away from returnable refillable packaging to one way, which is highly preferred from a customer standpoint, highly preferred from a consumer standpoint but this will be able to offer all kinds of terrific packages. We’ll make sure we have the right recycling program in place. And frankly, our margin significantly over time will increase big time.

So I think what you’re going to see in Europe, we like the model. We will continue to evolve and change as time goes forward whether it’s supply change, whether it’s our sales and marketing organization and how we optimize and manage that but I think its going to be evolutionary more than revolutionary.

Unidentified Analyst

I’m sorry.

John Brock

I’m sorry.

Unidentified Analyst

I just had one more question but didn’t know you’ve finished.

John Brock

[Doug], I was going to add a little more comment on United States. I think Coke is doing a great job. They took our business and our team, our leadership team, put in place with their team. They have assimilated it beautifully and what they do down the road, who knows. Where it will go, that’s up to them to say.

From a strategic standpoint, we made it very clear. Our number one priority strategically in addition to just running our business and making sure it works; would be to look at expanding either our geographic footprint or our portfolio footprint in Western Europe. We have time for one more. Right here in the middle.

Unidentified Analyst

I have one very quickly.

John Brock


Unidentified Analyst

I’m going to have [really] speaking. It’s a great question over here on extra taxes. Could you talk a little bit about how it developed in France, your response to that and then how you see that unfold and exposed throughout the world really but in Europe particularly. I think there is more to come and what are your lobbying efforts there? Thanks.

John Brock

Yeah. Just everybody knows there was about a, sorry, 12% excise tax that was put in place. Actually, it was not a percentage. It was a unit tax but for us, it played out a total price increase of about 12 -- 8% of which is excise and the other four so was our normal price increase.

We put that in place on January 1st and immediately it was passed on to our customers. In France, our customers have chosen to play it different ways and yet it is still not fully reflected in the retail price to consumers. We think it will be over time but it’s not fully there yet.

In terms of the rest of Europe that excise tax in France really broadly speaking brought France up to total taxation level broadly where the rest of Europe was. But I think the good news is at least right now there are no other organizations or governments out there that we think are seriously looking at it.

We also think we are in a far better position we in the Coca Cola Company. In the event, some country decides any one who wants to try to do that to be ready to respond ready here than we were when it happened in France. Do we go to one more? Okay. Right here?

Unidentified Analyst

One more. A quick one. Can you talk a little bit about the promotional environment in your regions the way you exit, is it increasing or….

John Brock

In Norway’s specifically? I’m sorry, you guys are, all of our…

Unidentified Analyst

EU regions.

John Brock

Oh! Really, I’m sorry, I just said Norway. I would say it’s broadly the way we would have expected. It would be with potentially a little bit of an exception being in Great Britain. We have grown our share, our value share and frankly, all we think about is value share.

We’ve grown it substantially over the last five years in Great Britain. We are pleased with that. 2012 has been a bit of a higher year in terms of promotional programs in major grocery stores.

Our principal competitor has -- we’ve taken our price increase and it’s in the market. And our principal competitor has indicated that they are going to take a price increase, May, June and we are pleased to hear that. We’re -- as I said very excited about the second half of the year and Great Britain is certainly part of that.

Unidentified Analyst

Great. Thank you very much and thank you very for the coolers.

John Brock


Unidentified Analyst


John Brock

Okay. Thanks everybody.

Copyright policy: All transcripts on this site are the copyright of Seeking Alpha. However, we view them as an important resource for bloggers and journalists, and are excited to contribute to the democratization of financial information on the Internet. (Until now investors have had to pay thousands of dollars in subscription fees for transcripts.) So our reproduction policy is as follows: You may quote up to 400 words of any transcript on the condition that you attribute the transcript to Seeking Alpha and either link to the original transcript or to All other use is prohibited.


If you have any additional questions about our online transcripts, please contact us at: Thank you!