Coca-Cola Adjusted 4Q Results Beat Street

Published February 7, 2012 1:27PM (EST)

ATLANTA (AP) — Coca-Cola Co.'s fourth-quarter net income dropped 71 percent, weighed down by restructuring charges and a difficult comparison with last year's fourth quarter, when the beverage maker had a hefty benefit from buying its bottlers.

But the Atlanta company said Tuesday its adjusted results topped Wall Street's expectations and sold more drinks in the U.S. and abroad, particularly in emerging markets.

Its stock added 62 cents to $68.65 in Tuesday premarket trading.

Coca-Cola, whose brands include Sprite and Minute Maid, earned $1.65 billion, or 72 cents per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. That's down sharply from $5.77 billion, or $2.46 per share, a year earlier. But a year ago, the company had a one-time net gain of $1.74 per share, mainly related to buying its bottler's North American operations.

Removing restructuring charges and other items, earnings were 79 cents per share. Analysts forecast 77 cents for the company, according to Fact Set.

Revenue increased 5 percent to $11.04 billion. It was helped by higher prices, strength overseas and solid results from the Coca-Cola brand, juices and teas. The figure just topped Wall Street's $11 billion estimate.

Coca-Cola sold 3 percent more of its drinks during the quarter, including a 1 percent gain in Europe and North America and a 4 percent gain in Eurasia and Africa and Latin America.

Coca-Cola, which has more than 500 brands including Fanta, Sprite, Dasani and Minute Maid, has weathered the downturn by spending more on advertising, new products and plants. The company, like many, also has turned overseas for growth, particularly emerging markets like India and China. And in North America, it is raising prices and offering smaller package sizes.

For the year, net income fell 27 percent to $8.57 billion, or $3.69 per share. That compares with $11.81 billion or $5.06 per share last year.

Revenue rose 33 percent to $46.54 billion from $35.12 billion.

Global volume grew 5 percent during the year, helped by strength in emerging markets such as Latin America.

By Salon Staff

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