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Coca-Cola Bottling Hits 52-Week High, Joins S&P SmallCap 600

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Shares of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, one of the largest independent bottlers of The Coca-Cola Company’s (KO - Free Report) , scaled a 52-week high of $188.39 on Mar 14. The stock pulled back to end the trading session at $186.50, gaining 8.9% on the day.

The $1.74-billion bottler has seen its shares rise roughly 7.1% in the last three months, outperforming the Zacks categorized Beverages-Soft Drinks industry growth of 3.3%.

What’s Driving It?

Coca-Cola Bottling, which produces, markets and distributes non-alcoholic beverages, has been added to the S&P SmallCap 600 GICS Soft Drinks Sub-Industry index.

Notably, with the completion of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s acquisition of Harman International Industries, Coca-Cola Bottling will replace The GEO Group in the S&P SmallCap 600.

Recently, Coca-Cola Bottling reported adjusted earnings of 72 cents per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016, up 12.5% year over year. The company’s net sales of $841.6 million were up 35.8% year over year primarily on acquisitions and higher comparable net sales.

Comparable net sales increased 6.3% driven by a 5.6% rise in comparable equivalent unit case volumes. Both sparkling and still products contributed to the upside in volumes.

Full-year fiscal 2016 adjusted earnings came in at $5.79 per share, up 12.4% year over year. Consolidated net sales in fiscal 2016 increased 36.9% to $3.16 billion from the fiscal 2015 level (read more: Coca-Cola Bottling Q4 Earnings, Revenues Rise Y/Y).

The company expects to continue growing both organically and through the acquisition of additional manufacturing and distribution territory. In Sep 2016, Coca-Cola Bottling entered into a definitive agreement with an affiliate of The Coca-Cola Company to include distribution territories in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and West Virginia as well as to purchase manufacturing facilities in Ohio and Indiana.

Earlier, Coca-Cola Bottling benefitted from the expansion of Monster Beverage Corporation’s (MNST - Free Report) product distribution throughout the company’s territory in Aug 2014.

Key Picks

Investors can also consider Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stocks Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (CCLAY - Free Report) and Embotelladora Andina S.A. (AKO.B - Free Report) from the Beverages-Soft Drinks industry. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Full-year 2017 earnings are expected to increase 10.8% for Coca-Cola Amatil.

Full-year revenue is expected to increase 15.2% for Embotelladora.

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