Cott widens loss in "very difficult year"

by Staff
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TORONTO — Cott Corp. sustained a loss of $73.1 million in the year ended Dec. 29, which compared with a loss of $17.5 million during the previous year.

Revenue for the year was $1,775,600,000, nearly flat compared with $1,771,800,000 during 2006.

"In 2007, we were impacted by an extreme commodity environment, C.S.D. (carbonated soft drinks) decline in North America, higher competitive promotional activities and various internal challenges that prevented us from achieving our objectives," said Brent Willis, chief executive officer. "This very difficult year is now behind us, and most importantly in 2007 we took essential steps to remake the company in various areas, such as people, structure, process changes, product manufacturing capability, pricing and cost management. We expect these initiatives to significantly improve our performance in 2008."

For the fourth quarter, Cott posted a loss of $76.8 million, which compared with a loss of $29.6 million during the same quarter of 2006. Revenue in the quarter was up 3% to $412.4 million compared with $400.1 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

"In the fourth quarter, we sharpened our focus on a few key initiatives with our most important customers," said Rick Dorby, president for North America. "These include the roll out of our new water program, continued distribution expansion and brand development of our new products and merchandising of our core business. Late in the quarter, we secured the final round of pricing for the year."

The company said international growth helped contributed to revenue growth, and Mr. Willis said the company expects the international business to deliver strong gains in 2008.

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