Coca-Cola Beats Quarterly Profit Estimates

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By Jacob Maslow

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) on Tuesday reported higher-than-expected profit and revenue for the company’s 4th quarter, as higher volume and pricing in the United States helped offset weak volumes overseas.

Worldwide volumes for the beverage maker rose by 3%, driven largely by the company’s non-carbonated offerings including bottled water, tea and milk, which grew by 6%. Soda volumes increased 2% worldwide.

Overall, Coca-Cola posted a profit of $1.24 billion, or $0.28 a share, up from $770 million, or $0.17 per share, a year earlier.

The company’s better-than-projected quarterly profit, was likewise buoyed by aggressive cost-cutting measures. Selling, general and administrative expenses was cut by 9.2% down to $3.94 billion.

Coca-Cola is also trying to boost sales by diversifying its product portfolio to include energy drinks and cold-pressed juices.

Weakness outside the U.S. adversely affected the company’s latest results. Recession in Russia and Brazil resulted in weak sales, while consumer demand for the company’s products in Europe and Japan remain weak. The soda maker attributed a 10 percentage points loss for its per-share earnings to foreign exchange as the company generates close to half of its sales abroad.

Excluding the effects of extraneous factors and currency fluctuations, the American beverage maker projects both revenue and per-share earnings to grow by 4% to 6% this year.

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