Coca-Cola profit up 19% on overseas gains

Coca-Cola profit up 19% on overseas gains

New York: Coca-Cola Co.’s first quarter profit climbed 19% as the world’s largest drink maker continued to expand rapidly overseas.

That offset persistent weakness in the US as shoppers skimped on buying carbonated drinks, water, juices and teas.

The results were weaker than analyst expectations.

The company earned $1.61 billion (around Rs7,180 crore) per share in the quarter ending 2 April. That’s up from earnings of $1.35 billion in the same period last year. Revenue rose 5% to $7.53 billion.

Worldwide case volume rose 3%, with international case volume growing faster at 5%. The firm has courted consumers in international markets as their economies improve, by pitching its drinks as an affordable luxury. In North America, shoppers have cut back on spending during the recession.

Eurasia and Africa led international growth, with volume up 11%. India’s volume grew 29% and Turkey’s 18%.

Elsewhere, Brazil’s volume gained 12%. The flagship Coca-Cola brand posted double-digit growth in Russia, Egypt, Brazil, India, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Around three-fourths of Coca-Cola’s revenue came from outside North America in the quarter. North America is the world’s biggest soft drink market, but sales have been weak as people shift to juices and teas.

Emerging markets are still key, and Coca-Cola is doing a solid job of getting people to consume more soft drinks by investing in its business there, said Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo. As those markets grow, the idle markets of North America and Europe will continue to be less relevant, he said. Company shares rose 7 cents (Rs3.12) to $56.36 in midday trading.