Emerging markets help boost Coca-Cola income 14%

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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ATLANTA — With the help of growth in emerging markets, The Coca-Cola Co. posted third-quarter income of $1,890 million, equal to 82c per share on the common stock, up 14% from $1,654 million, or 72c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year.

Net operating revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 26 was $8,393 million, up 9% from $7,690 million during the same quarter of 2007.

"We once again demonstrated our ability to perform consistently, delivering our eighth consecutive quarter of double-digit comparable earnings growth despite an incredibly challenging economic environment," said Muhtar Kent, president and chief executive officer. "We are managing our business for the future with continued investment behind our brands and an increased focus on effectiveness and efficiency. These efforts support long-term growth while providing additional flexibility to enable sustainable results. Importantly, our strategies are working as we diligently work alongside our bottling partners to continue to deliver global volume and value share gains."

In the North America segment, operating income was $392 million, down 12% from $447 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Operating revenue was $2,152 million during the quarter, down 2% from $2,186 million during the same quarter of 2007.
While business has slowed in North America, operating income in Latin America and Eurasia and Africa were up 30% and 34%, respectively, in the quarter.

"Our system’s ability to adapt to challenging economic and consumer environments was key to our success during the quarter, and we believe this adaptability will continue to be crucial to the business going forward," Mr. Kent said. "Our international operations, in particular the emerging markets, continue to drive growth more than offsetting the challenges we are addressing in North America. We anticipate the operating environment, especially in North America, will continue to be challenging as we finish 2008 and move into 2009. However, we have been diligent in taking the evolving landscape into account as we are planning for 2009 and believe the solid fundamentals of our business, our strong balance sheet and cash-generating capability, the experience of our management team and the strength of our brands will drive the business through these difficult economic times."

For the nine months, the company posted net income of $4,812 million, or $2.08 per share, up 1% from $4,767 million, or $2.06 per share, during the same period of the previous year. Net operating revenue was $24,818 million, up 15% from $21,526 million during the same period of the previous year.

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