Bubble back in Coca-Cola earnings

COCA-Cola yesterday reported higher-than-expected sales and earnings, helped by its second straight quarter of improved drinks sales in North America.

The world’s largest soft drink maker has made turning around the ailing North American market a top priority. It bought its largest bottler in the region, developed high-tech fountain machines that can dispense a hundred different drinks, and introduced smaller can sizes to lure calorie counters.

Coke’s third-quarter net income was $2.06bn (£1.3bn), or 88 cents per share, up from $1.90bn, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, earnings were 92 cents per share, topping analysts’ average estimate of 89 cents.

Revenue rose five per cent to $8.43bn as worldwide volume rose five per cent. Analysts had forecast revenue of $8.3bn.

Volume in North America rose two per cent in the third quarter. That follows a two per cent increase in the second quarter, which was its first increase in over two years.

Coke said international volume rose six per cent, fuelled by growth of 12 per cent in the Eurasia and Africa business, 11 per cent in the Pacific region and four per cent in Latin America. Volume in Europe was slightly positive, but rounded to even.