Coca-Cola Enterprises said it could see its operating income next year rise in a mid- to high-single digit range, helped by mid-single digit growth in Europe and North America. On top of that, its earnings per diluted share will rise at a high-single digit rate. Right now, the company forecasts that currency rates will come in at the tail end of the company's transactions, which could add about 4 cents of "EPS favorability."
Coca-Cola Enterprises also announced a share repurchase program that would add up to about $600 million by the end of 2010. These days, the company pays an annual dividend of 32 cents per common share.
Coca-Cola Enterprises says it has been especially pleased with its "remarkable results" in Europe through 2009 and will "build on those results and seize new growth opportunities."The weak U.S. economy, however, hasn't been as good to Coca-Cola Enterprises. "However, we remain closely aligned with The Coca-Cola Co. in addressing North America's marketplace challenges...we are united in our approach and remain optimistic about the opportunity to return North America to balanced top-line growth," says Brock.