Coca-Cola Beats Quarterly Sales Estimates

By Dave Simpson
Coca-Cola Beats Quarterly Sales Estimates

Strong demand for Coca-Cola Co's zero-calorie drink Coke Zero Sugar, new orange-vanilla cola and flavoured waters pushed the beverage maker's quarterly sales and profit well above Wall Street estimates.

The world's biggest beverage makers, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc, are responding to shifting consumer tastes by tweaking ingredients and experimenting with new flavors that are focused more on health conscious consumers.

These efforts have helped revive soda sales after a years-long slump.

CEO James Quincey said Coke Zero Sugar sales witnessed a double-digit percentage rise, while its new orange-vanilla Coke soda was also a hit.

Sales of carbonated drinks rose 1%, driven by strong performance of its Coke brand, while smaller, immediate consumption packages of its flavored water and sports drinks drove a 6% sales increase in the business.


Quincey is trying to make Coca-Cola a "total beverage company" by adding coffees, teas, smoothies and flavored waters to a portfolio that has traditionally offered aerated drinks.

It recently made a big bet on coffee with its $5.1 billion acquisition of Costa Coffee and is preparing to launch ready-to-drink Costa products in stores soon.

"They're making progress with innovations in general ... it is still early for a lot of these innovations, but we do like the increased focus that the company is bringing to its core brands and also its coffee products," Edward Jones analyst John Boylan said.

Organic Sales And Revenue

Coke's organic sales, which exclude the impact of currency swings and acquisitions, rose 6%, driven by price hikes and bottlers stocking up more products due to Brexit uncertainty.

Revenue rose 5% to $8.02 billion and the company earned 48 cents per share on an adjusted basis.


Analysts had forecast earnings of 46 cents per share and revenue of $7.88 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Second Quarter Projections

For the second quarter, the company projected a 6% boost to comparable revenue, mainly due to acquisitions and divestitures, but said it continues to see an impact from a stronger dollar.

It maintained its organic sales growth forecast of about 4% for the full year.

"We expect the company to over-deliver on the 4% organic growth guidance this year, driven by innovation, global market share gains, and pricing power," Guggenheim Partners analyst Laurent Grandet wrote in a note.

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