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Coca-Cola Enterprises lifts 2009 profit outlook

ATLANTA - ATLANTA (AP) — Coca-Cola Enterprises, which bottles Coca-Cola drinks, on Thursday raised its full-year 2009 earnings outlook, helped by a stronger brand and improvements in efficiency.

The company expects 2009 earnings between $1.56 and $1.59 per share, excluding special items.

Coca-Cola Enterprises in October said it expected earnings between $1.54 and $1.57 per share, up from a prior forecast of $1.44 to $1.49 per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predict earnings per share of $1.57.

For 2010, earnings per share will rise by a percentage in the high single digits, and revenue will increase in the low single digits on growth in Europe and North America, the company said.

"Our strong 2009 results and positive growth outlook for 2010 reflect the benefits of our work to maximize brand value, to enhance the system effectiveness and efficiency, and to provide customers with the highest levels of service," said John F. Brock, chairman and CEO.

Coca-Cola Enterprises also said it will resume buyback programs and purchase $600 million in stock by the end of 2010, as well as seek to increase its dividend. Currently, the company is paying an annual dividend of 32 cents per share.


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