Large Coca-Cola bottler posts falling profits for 2007

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consilidated, one of Coke’s largest regional bottlers, announced Wednesday that their profits fell 14.2 percent in 2007.

The company garnered $19.9 million in earnings last year, down from $23.2 million in 2006.

In a written statement, COO William B. Elmore blamed raw material costs – including sweeteners and aluminum for cans – for their thinning profit margin.

In the same statement, Chairman and CEO J. Frank Harrison III said energy costs also played a role in weakening the company’s bottom line. But, he said, while 2007 challenged the company, Coke Consolidated had improved efficiency in their supply chain and management operations. Harrison also said Coke’s recent innovations, including vitamin water, smart water FUZE and NOS, would “continue to be critical to the overall revenue of the Company.”