USA – The Coca-Cola Company has reported solid operating results in the first quarter, registering 5% growth in revenues supported by strong innovation within leader brands which included double-digit growth for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.
Net revenues for the quarter grew by 5% to reach US$8.02 billion, while operating income stood at US$2.34 billion, 29% higher than the first quarter of 2018.
Global unit case volume rose 2% boosted by strong performance in Asia Pacific, particularly China where better sales were realized from bottled water and trademark brand Coke.
Earnings per share from continuing operations during the quarter grew 24% to $0.38 as the company continued to gain value share in total non-alcoholic ready-to-drink (NARTD) beverages.
“We’re encouraged by our first quarter results as our disciplined growth strategies continue to deliver strong underlying performance,” said James Quincey, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.
“We remain confident in our full year guidance as we continue to make progress on our transformation as a consumer-centric total beverage company.”
Europe, Middle East & Africa recorded 5% growth in revenue, offsetting revenue decline in particularly Latin America while Asia Pacific posted strongest volume growth (7% higher).
Growth in this region was led by sparkling soft drinks and the continued growth of Fuze Tea, and the company also gained value share in non-alcoholic RTD beverages, especially in Europe.
Unit case volume grew 2%, as growth across the majority of markets was partially offset by declines in Zimbabwe and the Middle East.
North America registered 4% growth in price/mix attributed to strong pricing and mix within the sparkling soft drink portfolio, in addition to a benefit from product mix.
Price/mix grew 9% for the quarter in Latin America, largely driven by strong performance in Brazil and pricing in Argentina.
Brazil, Peru and Chile saw decline in unit case volume, which was more than offset by a double-digit decline in Argentina.
Mexico volume declined 1% in the quarter, partially due to pricing and package initiatives executed in the market to optimise revenue.
During the quarter, the company completed acquisition of Costa Ltd., which gives Coca-Cola a significant entry point into hot beverages and a global platform in coffee.
In the second quarter, the company said it will introduce Costa ready-to-drink products.
Following successful bid to acquire Nigeria’s Chi Ltd, Coca-Cola looks to leverage on the company’s innovative, fast-growing platform to expand its beverage categories in West Africa, including juices, value-added dairy and iced tea.
In the year looking forward, Coca-Cola expects 4% growth in organic revenue and 10-11% growth in comparable, currency-neutral operating income.