Coca-Cola gulps down quarterly decline in sales as emerging markets prove difficult

Emma Haslett
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The famous drinks company was hit hardest in emerging markets (Source: Getty)

The third quarter proved less than sweet for Coca-Cola, which has unveiled a five per cent decline in reported net revenue to $11.4bn (£7.4bn) during the three months to the beginning of October.

The company, which has been grappling with a new-found desire among its traditional customers to stay healthy, as well as volatile currencies, said earnings per share fell 31 per cent to 33 cents per share.

Stripping out currency headwinds, that rose to 51 cents. In North America, it made a pre-tax loss of $116m, while the figure fell four per cent to $733m in Europe.

However, it was in emerging markets where it was hit the hardest, with pre-tax profit falling 22 per cent in Eurasia and Africa, 18 per cent in Latin America and 11 per cent in Asia Pacific.

In an effort to combat falling sales, Coca-Cola has embarked on a health kick of its own, moving away from carbonated drinks and into new markets.

It said market share of its ready-to-drink tea brands increased four per cent, with its sports drinks growing five per cent and packaged water growing 11 per cent.

In June it closed its partnership deal with Monster, a caffeine-based energy drink rival to the likes of Red Bull. Under the deal, Coca-Cola paid $2.15bn for a 16.7 per cent stake in the company, which also owns energy drink brands Relentless and Burn.

Chairman and chief executive Muhtar Kent attempted to remain upbeat.

“By aggressively driving productivity and streamlining the business, we are funding investments to accelerate growth,” he said. “Despite a continued challenging macro environment, [we] remain confident in our strategies.”

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