May 9, 2008 / 2:15 PM / 10 years ago

Cott delays US regulatory filing , cites tax issue

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Struggling soft drink maker Cott Corp (BCB.TO) (COT.N) said on Friday it will delay filing its quarterly financial report with U.S. regulators so that it can revisit a foreign tax issue.

Cott, the world’s biggest producer of private-label soda pop, said it was unable to meet a May 8 filing deadline because it needs more time to investigate the amount and probability of a liability.

The potential exposure is not expected to exceed $2.5 million, the company said.

Cott reported a first-quarter loss of $12.1 million on sales of $389.7 million for the three-month period ended March 29.

The company is facing weaker demand, rising ingredient costs, and a recent decision by key customer Wal-Mart (WMT.N) to reduce U.S. shelf space for its drinks.

With a recently appointed interim chief executive, Cott is trying to increase production of higher-profit drinks, while reducing costs and raising prices.

Shares in Cott dipped more than 2.5 percent to C$2.53 in opening trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday, and dropped 1 percent in New York to $2.51. The stock has fallen nearly 83 percent in the past 12 months.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Peter Galloway

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