While some analysts have rightly raised concerns over Coca-Cola Amatil’s (ASX: CCL) performance in the last financial year, which saw a decline of 8.5% in net profit after tax and a decline in return on average invested capital to its lowest point in five years, there are a number of growth initiatives which have the potential to help Coca-Cola Amatil regain the lost ground.
Group-wide results were substantially affected by difficult trading conditions in the mature Australia market, largely due to aggressive discount pricing by competing soft drink makers, which saw Australian beverage earnings decline by 10.1%. It’s quite a different story however for Coca-Cola Amatil in the burgeoning Indonesian market. For FY 2013 the Indonesian division experienced over 15% growth in volumes and earnings.
The company is forecasting 10% to 15% volume growth and 15% to 20% earnings growth in Indonesia for the current financial year. This growth is being helped along by the recent launch of a new multi-beverage blowfill line and distribution centre that cost around US$30 million to build. This investment will improve the company’s production and logistics capability to help it meet these double-digit growth targets.
Coca-Cola Amatil has already successfully expanded into alcoholic beverages, but is set to take a major leap forward after 16 December 2013 when the company will begin distributing and brewing a range of beers and ciders. The company has a stated aim of achieving over 1% incremental earnings before interest and tax growth from alcoholic beverages from 2014.
A key to this growth will be distribution. With the two supermarket giants Woolworths (ASX: WOW) and Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) controlling a substantial portion of alcohol retailing through their wholly owned liquor stores, as well as controlling a large number of pubs across the country, Coca-Cola Amatil will be utilising its long-established relationship with these retailers to try and expand its presence in the beer market.
Coca-Cola Amatil is a well-managed firm with substantial experience in beverage manufacturing and distribution. Its potential to utilise these skills in new regions such as Indonesia and across new products such as beer shouldn’t be underestimated by investors and any further weakness in the share price could offer long-term investors with an appealing entry point to the stock.
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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.