Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:CCE) Q4 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 11, 2016 • 10:00 am ET

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Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:CCE) Q4 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Executive
John Brock

innovation, as well as expansion into Sweden. Water was up 12%, driven by continued expansion of smartwater in Great Britain, and growth in Chaudfontaine.

Now, let's take a look at our outlook for 2016. Today, we affirmed our financial guidance for 2016, including a slight growth in net sales. This guidance reflects the impact of ongoing softness in the consumer sector. We're not content with this level of performance and we'll remain fully committed to strengthening our outlook, enhancing margins and growing our business. Ultimately, we believe that renewed growth, our focus on cash generation, and our ability to manage the levers of our business will enable us to achieve our most important objective, continuing to drive shareholder value.

For 2016, we will benefit from several key brand, package and marketing initiatives. For example, we will benefit from our relationship with the Euro 2016 Championship, which is Europe's biggest soccer event. We already are implementing targeted programs with key customers and will build on in-store execution and opportunities through much of the year. We'll also introduce new brand extensions and packaging in each of our territories. As an example, we're adding immediate consumption packs for Coca-Cola Zero Cherry. We're continuing the rollout of new zero-calorie Monster Ultra flavors and we're adding new flavors for Capri Sun.

New packaging includes six-bottle packs for smartwater, multi-pack cans for Finley, and more effective product displays to enhance in-store execution. In addition, we'll also expand our emphasis on cold drink with expanded vendor placements. We're also excited about implementing the Coca-Cola Company's new initiative, Taste the Feeling. This effort builds on the joint work we have done to unify Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light and Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life all under one iconic Coca-Cola brand. We've already seen important synergies and benefits and we look forward to executing Taste the Feeling this year in all of our markets.

Now, I'd like to briefly review the timing of the transaction to create Coca-Cola European Partners, or CCEP, and take a look at the progress we've made. As you'll recall, we signed the agreement on August 6. Since then, we've secured European Union Commission approval and we filed a preliminary proxy statement Form F-4 prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Working together with CCIP, CCEAG, and the Coca-Cola Company, we're moving forward with the preparation of a European prospectus to affect the listing of CCEP shares in Europe. Once the proxy statement form F-4 is declared effective by the SEC, it will be mailed to CCE shareowners and a special meeting of CCE shareowners will be held to approve the proposed merger.

The transaction remains on track to close by the end of the second quarter of this year. Securing a timely close and the successful launch of the merger remains vital. To that end, teams at CCE, CCIP, CCEAG and the Coca-Cola Company are working to ensure that CCEP is ready to go on day one. Importantly, collectively, we continue to have confidence