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Sodas, waters drive Coca-Cola sales beat

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Via Reuters Finance

(Reuters) – Coca-Cola Co’s quarterly sales and profit beat Wall Street estimates on Tuesday, as it sold more of its water and soft drinks including its signature soda and Coke Zero, sending its shares up about 4 percent before the bell.

FILE PHOTO: Cans of Coca-Cola are pictured in the refrigerator during an event in Paris, France, March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The company has been bolstering its portfolio of non-carbonated drinks such as coffee, flavored waters and smoothies under Chief Executive Officer James Quincy who is spearheading Coca-Cola’s transformation into a “total beverage company”.

As part of the plan, Coca-Cola paid $5.1 billion for Costa Coffee earlier this year to tap into a booming global coffee market.

The company has also been testing new flavors of its trademark colas after the success of cherry- and vanilla-flavored drinks. It launched an orange-vanilla version of its Coca-Cola soda earlier this year, its first new Coke flavor in over a decade.

Quincy is also focusing on margins over volumes by divesting its bottling operations, while tweaking package sizes and raising prices. The slimmer cans and bottles helped drive a 6 percent rise in sales of waters and sports drinks.

New low-sugar recipes and smaller packages are helping both Coca-Cola and rival PepsiCo Inc reverse years of declines in soda sales.

Coke’s organic sales, which exclude the impact of currency swings and acquisitions, rose 6 percent, driven by price hikes and partly benefiting from bottlers stocking up more products due to Brexit uncertainty.

“We are impressed with Coca-Cola’s ability to deliver a strong topline, suggesting that its refranchising (and) portfolio transformation are paying off,” Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said.

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For the second quarter, the company projected a 6 percent boost in comparable revenue from acquisitions and divestitures, but continues to see an impact from currency swings. It maintained its forecast for the full year.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $8.02 billion, and the company earned 48 cents per share on an adjusted basis.

Analysts had forecast earnings of 46 cents per share on revenue of $7.88 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Net income attributable to the company rose 22.6 percent to $1.68 billion.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Anil D’Silva

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