) --

Coca Cola Enterprises


on Thursday said it expected impressive earnings for 2010, driven by growth in its European markets.

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.

Coca-Cola Enterprises forecasts full-year 2009 earnings of $1.56 to $1.59, up from its previous guidance of $1.54 and $1.57 per share in October. A Thomson Reuters' poll of analysts had arrived at an estimate of $1.57 per share for the company's full-year 2009 earnings.

Coca-Cola Enterprises is the bottler and distributor of


(KO) - Get Report




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brand beverages.

The large beverage bottlers have been trading in mixed territory. Coca-Cola Enterprises stock has risen 1.8% to $20.40 in noon trading, while

Pepsi Bottling

( PBG) has fallen 0.2% to $37.40.


(COKE) - Get Report

Bottling stock has lost 1% at $54.40.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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