Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:CCE) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Apr 30, 2015 • 10:00 am ET
Good day and welcome to the Coca-Cola Enterprises' First Quarter 2015 Conference Call. At the request of Coca-Cola Enterprises, this conference is being recorded for instant replay purposes.
At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Thor Erickson, VP of IR. Please go ahead, sir.
Thank you. And good morning, everybody. We appreciate you joining us today to discuss our first quarter 2015 results and our full year outlook for 2015.
(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)
This morning's prepared remarks will be made by John Brock, our CEO, and Nick Jhangiani, our CFO. Hubert Patricot, President of our European Group, is also with us on this call this morning. Following the prepared remarks, we'll open the call for your questions. In order to give as many people as possible the opportunity to ask questions, please limit yourself to one question and we will take follow-up questions as time permits.
Now, I'll turn the call over to John Brock.
John Franklin Brock
Thank you, Thor. And thanks to each of you for joining us as we review our first quarter results and our outlook for the balance of the year.
In looking at our results, comparable diluted earnings per share totaled $0.42 with currency reducing these results by $0.11. Currency-neutral net sales increased 4% and comparable currency-neutral operating income increased 4%. It's important to note that the first quarter results reflect the impact of four additional selling days.
During the first quarter, we continued to work through difficult marketplace conditions in a soft consumer environment, while managing each aspect of our business. We achieved volume growth of 1% after adjusting for the extra selling days. This was driven by volume growth of 8.5% in Great Britain after a 9% decline in the same quarter last year as well as a 3.5% decline for Continental Europe, which has cycling growth of 3.5% a year ago.
Given our first quarter performance and our outlook for the remainder of the year, we affirmed our 2015 guidance. This includes comparable currency-neutral diluted earnings per share growth in a range of 6% to 8% with slightly positive growth in both net sales and operating income. Importantly, we're focused on improving our growth outlook as we move through the remainder of the year. Our growth outlook is fueled by two key factors. First, we are optimistic about the marketing initiatives, the innovation, and the operating strategies that we have in place for this year. Second, we have a demonstrated ability to manage our business effectively in a challenging environment, which is coupled with a strong commitment to driving shareowner value.
Our 2015 marketing plans includes several initiatives that focus on our Coca-Cola trademark brands. We are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the contour Coca-Cola bottle with the introduction of a new 500 ml PET package featuring an embossed Coca-Cola logo, a larger label, and a distinctive red cap. And as I mentioned previously, we are rolling out a new One Brand strategy, which will bring a common identity