Coca-Cola Amatil shares are tanking as drinks sales shrink further

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Shares in Coca-Cola Amatil fell hard after the beverage maker reported sliding profits and weak Australian sales.

At the close, the shares were down 10.5% to $9.61.

The company says underlying net profit after tax will fall for the first half 2017 and the full year is expected to be “broadly in line” with last year.

“Trading in Australian Beverages for the year to date has been weaker than last year with all channels experiencing volume and price pressure due to competition and category trends,” the company said in a trading update.

“Amatil’s initiatives, which include strategies to address the structural changes in our market and rebalance our portfolio, working together with our partner, The Coca-Cola Company, continue to be implemented. Further time is required for these initiatives to gain traction.”

Amatil also says it has paused a $350 million on-market share buy back announced in February, and started on April 5, until Wednesday next week.

The company’s earnings from Australia, representing about two-thirds of the business, have been falling.

The reason is evolving tastes. In Australia, there’s less demand for fizz — carbonated drinks — and more for still, including water, energy shots and dairy.

The company has been cutting costs and restructuring.