Coke Enterprises raises earnings forecast

CHICAGO (BestGrowthStock) – Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc (CCE.N: ) raised its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, helped by improving sales trends in North America.

The company, whose North American operations will soon be taken over by Coca-Cola Co (KO.N: ), also said it expected annual revenue to increase 4 percent to 6 percent after the anticipated closing of the transaction in the fourth quarter. It said it expected earnings-per-share growth in the high-single-digit percentage range after the deal.

The largest bottler of Coca-Cola drinks forecast 2010 earnings at $1.78 to $1.82 a share, up from its previous outlook of $1.73 to $1.76. Analysts on average were expecting $1.80, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The 2010 outlook increase indicates a rebound in North American beverages that is not simply the result of aggressive promotions this year, JPMorgan analyst John Faucher wrote in a research note.

“The new (long-term) targets for CCE are in line with expectations as they jettison the slower-growth North American business,” Faucher added.

Coke Enterprises shares were up 0.5 percent at $29.53 in late morning trading.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Lisa Von Ahn)

Coke Enterprises raises earnings forecast