Coca-Cola Enterprises expects quarterly profit dip Coca-Cola Enterprises, a leading bottler of the beverage giant's brands, says it expects to post a single digit decline in earnings for the second fiscal quarter amidst difficult economic conditions in the US and Europe. The company said yesterday that financial concerns in the US hit sales volumes over the period, particularly for its higher margin 20-ounce carbonated beverage and water brands. On the European front, the company said it expected to post some slight sales volume and operating profit improvements over the period, negating the impact of a two-week labour action by its French employees. Group chairman John F Brock says that with the lucrative summer selling season about to begin, it was difficult to say how the second quarter performance would affect full year earnings, with the group looking to offset cost difficulties where possible. "We are taking action to meet the persistent challenges created by these weakening economic and marketplace conditions in the US, including initiatives to strengthen cold drink sales, increase revenue, and reduce expenses," he said. "Even as we work through these difficult conditions, we remain focused on our vision and long-term strategic objectives." While the world continues to dream about the prospect of space tourism, one Japan-based brewer is hoping to tap into intergalactic interest, with a new space-reared beer, press reports have said. Sapporo looks to the stars Sapporo Holdings says that it is developing a new beer derived from the offspring of barley that has previously been stored on the International Space Station, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news service reported earlier this week. The third generation crop was developed in conjunction with biologist Manabu Sugimoto who is working on a Russian project for growing edible plants in space. Besides simply allowing astronauts to enjoy themselves when away from the earth, researchers told reporters that they hope the project can lead to a better understanding of agricultural cultivation when in space. According to the report, the 'space beer' is expected to be ready by November with enough yield for 100 bottles of the brew. However, the company is not expecting to yet move ahead with the product as a commercial venture, according to the AFP.