North America sales add fizz to Coca-Cola profit

COCA-COLA reported higher quarterly earnings and lower revenue yesterday as strong sales of its namesake products offset the effects of global economic pressures and the costs of restructuring bottling operations in Brazil and the Philippines.

Net income rose six per cent to $2.45bn (£1.5bn), or 54 cents per share, in the third quarter from $2.31bn, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, earnings were 53 cents per share, in line with what analysts expected.

Revenue fell three per cent to $12.03bn from $12.34bn, slightly below analysts’ estimates of $12.05bn.

Coke does not give quarterly forecasts, but the company said its long-term goals and strategies remained unchanged and that it would continue to invest in its brands.

The world’s largest soft-drink maker generates almost 60 per cent of its revenue from international markets and relies on pop for almost 70 per cent of its global sales.

In north America, sales volume increased two per cent, largely because of the strong performance of Coke’s non-fizzy offerings. Still-drink and bottled water sales rose five per cent, and teas, which include Honest Tea and Fuze, had double-digit percentage growth. Sales of Coke’s five largest soft drinks grew by two per cent, even though Americans are drinking less fizzy pop overall.

In Eurasia and Africa, volume increased four per cent. In the Pacific region, it rose five per cent, led by growth of 21 per cent in Vietnam and nine per cent in China.