Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Coca-Cola sales boosted by new markets

Coca Cola advertisment in Shanghai, China
Coca Cola is targeting developing markets for growth

Coca-Cola saw sales and profits rise last year following a strong performance in developing markets.

The world's largest soft drinks company reported profits of $6.82bn (£4.36bn) for 2009 - a rise of 17% on the previous year.

It also saw a strong end to the year with fourth-quarter profits up 55%, and global sales up 5%.

Sales grew sharply in developing markets including China, India and Brazil.

That made up for a slight fall in sales in North America, although the company's Coke Zero brand bucked the trend, increasing its sales by more than 10%.

Global sales of the Coca-Cola drink itself rose 4% in the fourth quarter.

"We ended this year on a high note," commented Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive of the Coca-Cola Company.

He added that the company's leading brands allowed it grow even under "challenging economic conditions".

The company behind the Sprite, Fanta and Minute Maid brands has turned its attention to newer markets in recent years as US consumers cut back on their consumption of soft drinks.

The effects of the recession, as well as a move toward healthier alternatives, have been blamed.

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