Cott loses $5.8 million in quarter

by Allison Sebolt
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TORONTO — Revenue declines in North America, high ingredient and packaging cots, higher operating costs and the impact of a voluntary product recall in the United Kingdom all negatively impacted third-quarter financial results for Cott Corp.

For the third quarter ended Sept. 29, the company sustained a loss of $5.8 million, which compared with net income of $6.6 million in the same quarter of the previous year. Revenue was $464.6 million, down 2% from $475.5 million in the same quarter of 2006.

"We are disappointed by our performance in the third quarter," said Brent Willis, chief executive officer. "As a result, we are focusing our efforts in North America on fewer, more impactful initiatives, including our new water strategy, selected new channel and product opportunities, and pricing actions that should further the North American business unit turnaround and reignite growth."

The company said volume decline in North America were due to continued softness in the carbonated soft drink segment, the impact of price increases and increased promotional activity by national brands. Volume also was impacted by unseasonably wet weather and a voluntary product recall related to the start-up of a second aseptic line in the U.K.

"We are working to accelerate our international scale and growth to be more substantial contributors to the overall company," Mr. Willis said. "We are continuing to fill key positions and to add new talent to our international team to enable Cott to capture the many opportunities available to us."

For the nine months ended Sept. 29 the company had net income of $3.7 million, equal to 5c per share, down 69% from $12.1 million, or 17c per share, during the same period of the previous year. Revenue for the nine months was $1,363,200,000 down slightly from $1,371,700,000 during the same period of the previous year.

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