Bengaluru: Coca-Cola Co reported a better-than-expected profit, helped by higher demand for its healthier non-carbonated beverages as well as low and no-sugar versions of its sodas, in the company’s first quarter under new chief executive James Quincey.

Coca-Cola, like rival PepsiCo Inc, has been building its non-carbonated drinks portfolio and stepping up efforts to reduce sugar in its beverages to cope with falling demand for sugary drinks.

“Organic revenue growth in sparkling soft drinks was led by innovation in and marketing support for our low- and no-sugar options like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar," Quincey said in a statement.

Global volume sales of low and no-calorie soda drinks rose in the mid-single digits in the second quarter ended 30 June, the company said.

The world’s largest beverages maker said it plans to introduce Coke Zero Sugar in the US in August.

Coca-Cola said it also saw strong demand for its non-aerated drinks such as innocent juice and smoothies in Europe.

Net income attributable to the company’s shareholders fell to $1.37 billion, or 32 cents per share, in the second quarter ended 30 June, from $3.45 billion, or 79 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company incurred a charge of $653 million related to re-franchising its North America bottling operations.

Excluding items, Coca-Cola earned 59 cents per share, beating the average analysts’ estimate of 57 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 16% to $9.70 billion, hurt by the re-franchising of bottling territories and a strong dollar.

However, revenue beat the average analysts’ estimate of $9.65 billion. Reuters