BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 21:35 GMT
Still drinks add sparkle to Coca-Cola
Coke advertising photo
Coke's fizzy drinks sales rose, but non-carbonated brands gained most
Strong sales of non-carbonated drinks have put a sparkle into sales at Coca-Cola.

The beverage giant, reporting profits of $930m for the October to December quarter, saw sales of juice drinks surge by 21% over 2002.

Overall, we were pleased with our results in 2002 in the face of a difficult macroeconomic environment

Douglas Daft, chief executive, Coca-Cola
Sales of Powerade sports drink rose by one quarter, while the firm's water business recorded growth of 68% - compared with an industry average of 8%.

Overall, the volume of Coca-Cola drinks produced hit a record 18.7 billion unit cases, equivalent to almost 450 billion standard eight-ounce servings, and at the top end of Wall Street expectations.

"Volume results were sold," said JP Morgan analyst John Faucher.

But Mr Faucher dismissed as "anaemic" that growth in operating profits of 3.4% during the quarter, compared with the same period last year.

Goldman Sachs analyst Marc Cohen saw the figures as "encouraging", in the face of "some very visible challenges that the company confronted".

Factory shutdown

Beside the global economic downturn, the firm admitted it had faced "very challenging economic conditions" in Argentina and Venezuela.

The firm said a shutdown at a bottling plant in Venezuela, which has suffered weeks of industrial action in protest at the regime of president Hugo Chavez, had cost its Latin American operations one percentage point of growth.

In Germany, a surprise government clampdown on non-returnable containers had "negatively impacted" sales, as supermarkets spurned goods sold in non-recyclable packaging.

The firm added: "While this change in deposit laws will be disruptive in the short-term... the Coca-Cola system remains extremely well placed to take advantage of a probable move by consumers back to returnable packaging."

Analysts credited the firm's strong performance in the water market largely down to a decision last year to licence the distribution of Evian and Danone bottled water in North America.

The performance of the non-carbonated drinks unit was also boosted by the purchase of the Seagram line of drink mixers.

Sales of Coca-Cola's fizzy drinks grew by only 2% last year, with Fanta, recording 6% growth in sales, one of the strongest performers.

Future prospects

Chief executive Douglas Daft said, nonetheless, that the firm had "outpaced" rivals in all its major markets.

"Overall, we were pleased with our results in 2002 in the face of a difficult macroeconomic environment," Mr Daft said.

He added: "We are confident about how we will execute in 2003."

Goldman Sachs' Marc Cohen added that a company restructuring, and the decline in the dollar, had boosted the firm's profits potential.

Coca-Cola shares closed $0.74 higher at $39.74 in New York on Wednesday.

See also:

06 Feb 03 | Entertainment
25 Jan 03 | Business
09 Jan 03 | Business
17 Jul 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes