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Coca-Cola Amatil takes healthier approach

AAP logoAAP 25/08/2016 Petrina Berry

Coca-Cola Amatil is focusing on smaller cans of soft drinks, a lower calorie version of Coke Life and bottled water as consumers turn away from fizzy drinks.

The beverages giant made a profit of $198.2 million in the six months to June 30, up eight per cent from the same period a year ago, as earnings soared in its growth markets of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

But its Australian business suffered a 1.9 per cent earnings fall as its volumes of carbonated drinks dropped 5.8 per cent, while still beverages, including Mount Franklin water and Monster Energy and Mother energy drinks, rose 9.3 per cent.

Managing director Alison Watkins said the group was growing its still drinks category and continues to focus on offering smaller, 250mL soft drink cans, plus premium non-alcoholic drinks including ginger beer.

"Consumers are more focused on health and have concerns about calorie intake," she said.

"For the people who like to have a coke every now again, a small serving is perfect."

The group will launch another version of Coke Life, its low-calorie and less sugar Coke, in 2017, which Ms Watkins said will have even fewer calories than the original.

Coca-Cola Amatil's combined earnings in Indonesia and PNG soared 65 per cent, and rose 5.4 per cent in New Zealand and Fiji.

Its alcohol and coffee operations, which include the Jim Beam and Grinders brands, enjoyed double-digit revenue and earnings growth.

Ms Watkins said the company was on track to hit its target of mid-single digit earnings per share growth in 2016.

Coca-Cola Amatil shares dropped 42 cents, or 4.4 per cent, to $9.17.

COCA-COLA AMATIL LOOKS FOR A HEALTH KICK:

* Half-year profit up 7.8pct to $198.2m

* Revenue up 3pct to $2.57b

* Interim dividend up one cent to 21 cents.

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