UPDATE 3-Greece's biggest company, bottler CCH, quits for Switzerland


* World's No. 2 Coke drinks bottler to seek main Londonlisting

* Legal incorporation will move to Switzerland

* Plans to maintain second parallel listing, operations inGreece

* Coca Cola Hellenic is Greece's biggest firm by marketvalue

(Adds comment on CCH trading volume, sales)

By Harry Papachristou

ATHENS, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Greece's biggest company, CocaCola Hellenic, is leaving the country, the drinks bottler saidon Thursday as its move to Switzerland with a London listing forits shares dealt a blow to the crippled Greek economy.

The material impact on Greece may be limited - Greek plantswill go on working and CCH

said the five percent ofits business that the world's second-ranked Coke bottler has inGreece will be unaffected. But analysts quickly saw it as badnews for a nation struggling to compete inside the euro zone.

Coca Cola Hellenic, which already has secondary stock marketlistings in London and New York, said in a bourse filing inAthens that shareholders, most of whom are abroad, will exchangeall their stock for shares in Coca Cola HBC AG, based inSwitzerland. That stock will have its primary quote in London.

"A primary listing on Europe's biggest and most liquid stockexchange reflects better the international character of CocaCola Hellenic's business activities and shareholder base," thecompany said in its regulatory statement.

The firm, in which The Coca-Cola Co

of the UnitedStates has a 23-percent stake, bottles Coke and other drinks in28 countries from Russia to Nigeria. About 95 percent of itsshareholders and business activity are outside Greece.

"This transaction makes clear business sense," chiefexecutive Dimitris Lois told analysts in a conference call. Anoverwhelming majority of shareholders have already acceptedmoving a company which has long complained about Greek taxes.

Analyst Manos Hatzidakis of Beta Securities in Athens saidthat the move made sense for the firm, which follows Greek dairygroup FAGE this month in seeking a low-tax, low-volatility havenfor its corporate base - in FAGE's case Luxembourg.

"The Greek bourse is losing a very good company and theLondon Stock Exchange is gaining a very important group," saidHatzidakis.

"It's very bad news for the Greek economy and bourse."


Another analyst said the firm, which rose to the top ofcorporate rankings as the values of Greek banks collapsed, wasout to rid its share price of risks associated with Greece; thecountry is mired in recession and facing mass discontent as itsleaders slash budgets to meet international creditors' terms forloans intended to keep Athens inside Europe's single currency.

"This is a healthy company that does not want to suffer fromGreece's high country risk," said the analyst, who spoke oncondition of anonymity.

Foreign investors have been steadily reducing theirinvestment in the Athens Stock Exchange

since the countrywas engulfed by the sovereign debt crisis in 2009. Greece'sfuture in the 17-nation euro zone still remains in doubt.

Aided by the fact that it is doing most of its businessoutside Greece, CCH consistently outperformed the general Athensstock market index, which has slumped to 20-year lows.

CCH has become the country's biggest firm by market valuewith a capitalisation of around 6 billion euros ($7.7 billion),representing about a fifth of the Athens bourse's total. Typicaldaily trading in its shares has represented close to 10 percentof average volume on a Greek stock market where trade hadalready halved over the past year, squeezing broking firms.

The company, which last year made net profit of 330 millioneuros on sales of 6.85 billion, has also complained of hightaxes imposed under Greek government austerity measures.

CCH said it would delist from the Athens Stock Exchange andthen seek to re-enter that bourse with a secondary listing.

Coca Cola Hellenic shares were down 5.8 percent at 15.49euros in Athens after the news. Analysts explained the drop bythe low cash price of 13.58 euros the company is offering tothose shareholders who refuse the offer of new Swiss shares.($1 = 0.7751 euros)

(Additional reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by MattRobinson and Alastair Macdonald)

((harry.Papachristou@thomsonreuters.com)(+30 210 33 76 455 or+30 6949 440 106)(Reuters Messaging:harry.papachristou@thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

((BREAKINGVIEWS-Greek Coke bottler may find life sweeter in FTSE

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