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Soft drink bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. reported higher fourth-quarter profit that met Wall Street estimates, helped by higher volume and pricing, and backed its 2011 profit outlook.

The bottler of Coca-Cola drinks operates solely in Europe.

Morningstar analyst Philip Gorham called the company's low double-digit growth "respectable" given the weak economies in Europe.

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"However, trading at 13 times the upper end of management's guidance for 2011 earnings, we think the stock is slightly overvalued," Mr. Gorham said in a research note.

Profit increased to $97-million (U.S.) in the fourth quarter from $91-million a year earlier.

On a per-share basis, earnings were 28 cents, in line with the analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S

Coca-Cola Enterprises sold its North American operations to Coca-Cola, its main supplier, in October. The company now independently bottles and distributes Coke drinks in European countries such as Norway, Sweden, France, Belgium and Britain.

Sales rose 12 per cent to $1.79-billion, beating the analysts' average estimate of $1.77-billion.

Volume rose 4 per cent, and net pricing per case increased 1 per cent in the fourth quarter.

The company stood by its 2011 outlook calling for earnings of $1.95 to $2 a share.

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