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Moody's Investors Service affirmed Cott Corp.'s "stable" outlook, saying the company has "an acceptable level of financial flexibility" should the economy worsen. The ratings agency also placed a Caa1 rating on the beverage maker's proposed $200-million senior unsecured notes offering.

"The affirmation of Cott's ratings reflects its significant market position as world's largest retailer brand soft drink provider, strong cash flow generation, and improved debt maturity profile," Moody's said in a report.

"However, any erosion in margins and overall profitability either due to significant loss of volume that could not be replaced quickly and/or inability to manage commodity price volatility and deterioration in liquidity could warrant a negative rating action."

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Cott, the world's largest maker of private-label soft drinks, reported profits of $13.9-million, or 18 cents a share, compared with a year-ago loss of $87.6-million, or $1.25 a share. Last year's report included $95.8-million in goodwill and other asset impairment charges.

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