Coke’s global sales fizz up amid turmoil

SOARING demand in the emerging markets helped Coca-Cola post a strong increase in sales yesterday, but the drinks giant warned it is about to take a hit on foreign exchange.

Sales in the third quarter rose seven per cent by volume in Latin America, Eurasia and Africa and six per cent in the Pacific region, helping offset weaker growth of two per cent in Europe and one per cent in America, excluding Coke’s new cross-licensed brands.

The group, which is the world’s largest soft drinks producer, is open to the effects of currency shifts and hedging strategies because the majority of its sales come from outside the US.

It increased global sales by five per cent and revenue by 45 per cent to $12.25bn (£7.8bn), boosted by last year’s acquisition of its North American bottling operations, price rises and a five percentage-point currency benefit.

Profits were up eight per cent to $2.22bn but Coke warned: “Currencies will adversely impact our fourth quarter operating income by low to mid single digits while still providing a low to mid single-digit positive impact for the full year.”

Muhtar Kent, the British-educated chief executive, said the results were a testament to Coke’s “focused system vision, strong brands and solid execution” in a volatile marketplace.