Coca-Cola Revenue Falls, but Profit Beats Estimates

Coca-Colareported quarterly earnings that beat analyst expectations, but sales that came in shy of Wall Street views.

Coca-Cola bottles
Coca-Cola bottles

The beverage giant said its net income was $1.02 a share in its second quarter, compared with 92 cents a share this time last year.

Excluding one-time items, Coke earned $1.06 a share, topping analysts' estimates.

Sales for the most recent quarter reached $8.67 billion, up from $8.27 billion in the same period last year.

Operating revenue rose to $8.67 billion from $8.27 billion.

Analysts who follow the company projected Coke to earn $1.03 a share on revenue of $8.7 billion.

Coca-Cola shares rose 1.3 percent to $53.91 in early NewYork Stock Exchange trading. Get real-time quotes for Coca-Cola here.

That overall increase was ahead of the 3 percent gain expected by UBS analyst Kaumil Gajrawala. He said that Coke's sales exceeded his expectations in various regions, including the critical North American market, where the industry has seen sluggish demand for some time.

The company also reported that it saw strong worldwide volume growth of 5 percent in the quarter, including 2 percent growth in North America and 6 percent international growth. However, volume in Europe was down 1 percent.

"The big story is international sales," said Hank Smith, chief investment officer of Haverford Investments, which has owned Coke shares since 1979. "It's going to be a (differentiator) in the U.S. markets that will favor companies that have international exposure."

Coke's volume rose 2 percent in North America, 7 percent in Latin America, 6 percent in the Pacific region and 10 percent in the Eurasia and Africa region.

Smith said that foreign currency rates, such as a weaker euro, "will most likely be a slight tailwind in the second half" of the year. But overall he is encouraged by results from Coke and arch rival PepsiCo, which posted better-than-expected earnings on Tuesday.

"It is clear, that the state of the global economy remains uncertain in many regions, affected by ongoing deficit concerns in Europe, recent downward revisions to China's economy and weakened consumer confidence," said Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coke, in a prepared statement. "Even during these challenging times, our brand equity is growing stronger around the world, as consumers continue to choose our brands, with 4 percent global growth for brand Coca-Cola year-to-date."

"Additionally, we continue to make tangible progress with our planning related to the efficient and effective integration of Coca-Cola Enterprises' North American bottling business and we remain on track to complete the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2010," he continued.

On Tuesday, rival PepsiCo reported a quarterly profit just above analysts' expectations, helped by strength in international snack and beverage markets and the recent acquisition of its North American bottlers.

Coke and Pepsi are each taking dramatic steps to turn around their North American performance, acquiring their biggest bottlers there to cut costs and exert more control over distribution.

Coke said integration planning for the pending acquisition of Coca-Cola Enterprises North American business remained on track with an expected close in the fourth quarter.

PepsiCo closed its deal in late February.

(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said net income of $1.02 a share excluded charges, when it did not.)