Coca-Cola Enterprises Easily Tops Estimates - TheStreet

Coca-Cola Enterprises

(CCE)

, the largest bottler of

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

soft drinks, blew past expected third quarter earnings and revenue estimates Wednesday, posting a 33% increase in earnings over the year ago period. The company also sharply raised earnings guidance for the full year.

Coca-Cola Enterprises had third-quarter earnings of $259 million, or 56 cents a share, on revenue of $4.73 billion. Revenue was up 9% versus the year ago period primarily based on a 10% volume increase in Europe, driven by a record-setting heat wave during the quarter.

The new full-year earnings guidance of $1.31 a share versus the prior consensus estimate of $1.19 is also driven by growth in the European market. The company said that while it expects flat volume in North America, European volume should grow over 5%. It also seems to be doing a good job managing its growth, posting a 19% gain in operating income based on the European growth, expense controls and better pricing.

At $19.70, the stock is off 12% for the year in a tough market for bottlers. Pepsi Bottling Group

(PBG)

is still down over 16% for the year since posting respectable earnings on Sept. 30.

At $19.70, the stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 15 times 2004 estimated earnings vs. 13 for Pepsi Bottling, 12 for

Cadbury Schweppes

(CSG)

, and 14 for

Whitman Corp.

(PAS)

.