Coca-Cola income up 19% in quarter

by Staff
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ATLANTA — Boosted by a strong international performance, The Coca-Cola Co. posted a 19% increase in net income for the first quarter ended March 28. The company had an income of $1,500,000, equal to 65c per share on the common stock, up from $1,262,000, or 55c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year.

Operating revenue for the quarter was $7,379,000, up 21% from $6,103,000 during the same quarter of 2007.

"We have begun 2008 successfully with another solid quarter consistent with our overriding objective of creating long-term sustainable growth," said Neville Isdell, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our system’s success in executing our strategies — from marketing and beverage innovation to effective execution at the point of sale — continues to drive our growth. Importantly, our growth was again balanced, proving our ability to manage our portfolio of brands and geographies over time to deliver results."

International operations contributed to 7% unit case volume growth in the quarter, and double-digit unit case volume growth in markets such as China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, Eastern Europe and the Philippines boosted results. Unit case volume for sparkling beverages increased 3% in the quarter. Still beverage unit case volume increased 17%.

"I remain optimistic about the progress we are making and committed to continued improvement in the execution of our strategies," said Muhtar Kent, president and chief operating officer. "Even in the face of a difficult macroeconomic climate, I believe that by continuing to collaborate with our bottling partners and maintaining and unrelenting focus on integrated consumer marketing and commercial and franchise leadership, we will achieve another successful year for The Coca-Cola Co."

In North America, operating income was $324 million, down 7% compared with $347 million during the same period of the previous year. Net operating revenues in the quarter were $1,898 million, up 13% from $1,681 million during the same period of 2007.

"Our performance in the first quarter further builds on our success in 2007 in every respect," Mr. Kent said. "Our international business once again led the way with both sparkling and still beverages contributing to our results. We do recognize there is still much more work to be done, especially in our flagship North America market with its challenging economic environment."

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