Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Weaker US sales knock Coca-Cola

Coke can
Coca-Cola says the strong dollar has hit its overseas earnings

Coca-Cola has reported an 18% fall in quarterly profits because of a drop in North American sales and the impact of the strong dollar on overseas earnings.

During the three months to 31 December, the soft drinks giant made a net profit of $995m (699m), compared with $1.21bn for the same period in 2007.

While overall sales volumes were up 4%, those in the US and Canada fell 3%.

Quarterly revenue was down 3% to $7.1bn. The results were, however, better than market expectations.

Coca-Cola said the higher value of the dollar had trimmed its operating profit by 9% during the quarter.

'Good consistency'

While sales volumes during the quarter were down in North America, they were up 6% in Latin America, 2% in Europe, 9% in its Pacific region, and by 7% across its Eurasia and Africa sales area - which runs from Russia to South Africa.

Coca-Cola also said that its cost-cutting work was on track to deliver $500m in savings.

"Volume was better than I expected it would be and the earnings were better," said soft drink analyst Steve Dixon of Arnhold & Bleichroeder.

"What really stood out to me was the consistency of the results across geographies and product lines, of course with the exception being North America."

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