ATHENS, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Hellenic , Coca-Cola’s No.2 bottler worldwide, is to stop production at two of its five plants in Greece as part of cost cuts to deal with a protracted recession.
Athens-based CCH, Greece’s biggest company by market value, has restructured operations to deal with weak demand in many of its markets over the last three years, but particularly in Greece, now in its fifth year of deep recession and struggling to revive a shattered economy.
Sales volumes in Greece, one of the company’s biggest markets, fell by 12 percent in 2011, hit by higher sales tax and sweeping wage cuts that sharply reduced consumer spending.
CCH, which is active in 27 countries in Europe and also in Nigeria, said it would move the production of its plants in Thessaloniki and Patras to other units in Greece but would keep its distribution centres, sales offices and other services in the two Greek cities.
It said the move would affect 30 workers and was part of the company’s saving efforts.
“We have been doing restructuring in other geographies and with the reality in Greece, we are doing it here as well,” CCH investor relations director Oya Gur told Reuters.
Last year, CCH’s net profit dropped 27 percent to 330 million euros ($443 million), with sales volume down 1 percent to 2 billion unit cases.
The company has said it will continue its saving initiatives this year, an effort that will cost about 50 million euros and is seen producing annual benefit of 35 million euros from 2013 onwards.