August 9, 2018 / 6:34 AM / 11 days ago

UPDATE 2-World Cup helps Coca-Cola HBC's sales, but earnings fall short

(Adds analysts' estimates, share price)

LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Soft drink bottler Coca-Cola HBC on Thursday reported higher-than-expected half-year revenue, helped by warm weather across Europe and the World Cup soccer tournament.

The bottler of Coca-Cola drinks said net revenue was 3.23 billion euros in the first half of the year, slightly ahead of analysts' estimates for 3.22 billion, according to Jefferies analysts.

That represented a jump of 6.4 percent on a currency-neutral basis, but including currency fluctuations, revenue was up only 0.5 percent.

Comparable earnings per share of 60 euro cents missed analysts' estimates of 61 cents, Jefferies analysts said, citing higher finance costs mainly due to lower interest returns on cash deposits.

The company's shares were down nearly 1 percent at 1026 GMT.

Sales volume, or the amount of drinks sold, lifted sales by 4.6 percent, while the remaining 1.8 percentage points of sales growth was due to higher prices and a pricier mix of drinks sold.

Growth was mainly driven by emerging and developing markets.

The company said it continued to make "good progress" against its 2020 targets and expects to deliver "another year of revenue growth and improvement in margins". (Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by David Evans, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Jane Merriman)

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