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 MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Cott Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: COTTF) announced today that net earnings for the third quarter ending Oct. 30, 1993, rose 221 percent to $9.8 million, or $0.16 per share (fully diluted). Fully diluted earnings per share under U.S. GAAP were $0.14 per share, reflecting differences in accounting for the number of shares outstanding. Earnings for the nine months were $26.2 million, or $0.45 per share (fully diluted), up 184 percent from $9.2 million, or $0.18 last year. The increase in earnings was driven by new account business during the quarter and by higher sales levels in existing accounts. Case sales more than doubled from 17.7 million raw cases in the third quarter of last year to 35.7 million during the most recent quarter. Canadian customers accounted for 13.4 million cases, or 38 percent of total case sales. Lakeport Brewing Corporation accounted for 6 percent of Canadian case sales.
 Gross margins in the third quarter were 17.7 percent compared to 15.0 percent last year. The prior year's gross margins were negatively impacted by Canadian promotional activities undertaken to reduce inventory levels. Administrative expenses were impacted by one time costs related to the company's previously announced employee recognition program.
 In commenting on the quarter's results, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gerald Pencer added: "The strength of our retailer branded programs is especially evident from our progress this quarter. Sales levels in nearly all of our U.S. customers rose significantly during the quarter on a year-over-year basis. In addition, we added 10 new accounts to our growing list of worldwide customers, with one in Canada, seven in the United States, and two in Europe. Our entry into Europe is a noteworthy landmark for Cott that together with South Africa and Australia, opens the doors for strong international growth in the future."
 Included among Cott Corporation's new customers referred to above are the following U.S. accounts: McLane (serving 2,800 wholesale customers), Ames (New England mass merchandiser), P&C (New York), HWI (Fort Wayne Hardware Wholesaler), Thrift (Pittsburg Drug Chain) and Customer Company (California). In addition, Cott will begin serving Overwaitea in British Columbia and Alberta.
 Statement of Earnings Information
 3 Months Ended 9 Months Ended
 October October October October
 30/93 24/92 30/93 24/92
 (Can. $000's) (Can. $000's)
 Sales $174,492 $ 80,370 $502,036 $220,840
 Gross Profit 30,909 12,031 89,218 36,554
 Earnings from
 Operations 16,476 4,969 48,063 16,809
 Income Taxes 6,456 2,133 19,386 7,150
 Minority Interest 682 99 3,079 987
 Equity on Net
 Earnings of
 Long Term
 Investments 497 424 640 577
 Net Earnings 9,835 3,061 26,238 9,249
 Earnings per
 Common share
 Basic .17 .06 .47 .19
 Fully Diluted .16 .06 .45 .18
 Earnings per
 Common Share
 in conformity
 with U.S. GAAP
 Primary .16 .06 .44 .18
 Fully Diluted .14 .06 .42 .17
 Balance Sheet Information
 (in thousands of Canadian dollars)
 October 30/93 October 24/92
 Cash 77,107 0
 Accounts Receivable 74,458 42,789
 Inventories 83,503 35,226
 Prepaid Expenses 3,451 2,333
 Long-term Investments 13,153 4,777
 Capital Assets 64,105 46,177
 Goodwill 36,779 23,884
 Deferred Income Taxes 1,753 0
 Other Assets 21,280 13,483
 Total 375,589 168,669
 Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity
 Bank Loan 0 8,120
 Accounts Payable and Accrued
 Liabilities 70,019 57,529
 Income Taxes Payable 8,926 1,673
 Term Debt 15,447 19,782
 Due to Minority Shareholders 1,138 0
 Deferred Revenue 1,198 3,028
 Deferred Income Taxes 0 3,769
 Minority Interest 5,428 4,912
 Shareholders' Equity 273,433 69,856
 Total 375,589 168,669
 -0- 12/9/93
 /CONTACT: Fraser D. Latta, vice chairman and chief operating officer, 905-672-1900, or David Goldman, vice president, 905-672-1900, both of Cott Corporation/

CO: Cott Corporation ST: Ontario IN: FOD SU: ERN

TW -- NY075 -- 2353 12/09/93 16:35 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 9, 1993

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