ASX Shares to Buy: Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL)

ASX Shares to Buy: Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL)|ASX CCL|CCL StocksCoca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL) is an Australasian bottler for US-based The Coca Cola Company.

CCL manufactures, sells and distributes Coca-Cola products, including carbonated soft drinks, mineral waters and other non-alcoholic beverages, plus packaged fruit.

It is also considered among the market’s blue chip stocks.

Over the years, the company has successfully reduced its percentage of sugary carbonated beverages and increased its percentage of non-carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages and food, in order to diversify its earnings stream.

It has also ventured into the manufacture and distribution of premium beer brands and the premium spirit portfolio of global distributor Maxxium through Pacific Beverages (a JV entity between CCA and SABMiller).

The company delivered a solid first half result last month helped by its strategic product positioning in key markets.

Market ace

CCL stands to benefit from SABMiller’s takeover of Foster’s Group. The move is likely to result in the Pacific Beverages joint venture being dissolved.

CCL management estimates it could book a profit of $200-$300 million on the $305-$380 million sale of Pacific Beverages to SABMiller.

From an EPS perspective, this would be equivalent to a 2%-3% accretion.

CCL will also have the opportunity to acquire some of Foster’s assets at multiples that would be EPS accretive to CCL.

As an overall entity, CCL has grown from strength to strength in recent years. The company’s diversification strategy has been key to this growth, which has included the addition of alcoholic beverages.

Drink up to earnings

CCL last month reported a 27.8% decline in 1H11 net profit to $153.6 million.  An interim dividend of 22 cents was declared.

The result was impacted by an $80.5 million charge related to the restructuring of its SPCA Ardmona division.

Underlying profit rose 5.5% to $234.1 million, with revenue growing 3.3% on-year despite the impact of the recent flooding and consumer caution.

At an AGM in June, CCL had said it was looking to target around 5% growth in underlying profit for the 1H11.

The group has been hurt by the strong Aussie dollar, natural disasters and higher resin prices.

Before currency translation effects, first half profit was expected to be around 6% – 7% higher than the prior year.

CCL was expecting to generate stronger earnings in the second half, but said trading conditions remained uncertain as consumers contended with higher living costs.

Taking into consideration the adverse factors CCL faced during the period, we feel the company delivered a solid result.

Looking ahead

CCL will continue to focus on capitalising on its growing alcoholic beverage and non-carbonated soft drinks market, which are growing owing to modern lifestyle trends.

The company has strong brand awareness, and very stable and highly predictable cashflow compared to its peers.

Coca-Cola Amatil is a defensive company which is protected against inflation as it can pass costs on to customers, who are always willing to spend money on CCL’s famous brands.

With the potential for significant earnings upside from the Foster’s takeover, we feel CCL is in a lucrative position.

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