Coca-Cola sales beat estimates, helped by higher prices

Bottles of Coca-Cola are displayed in San Anselmo, California, on April 24, 2023.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Coca-Cola on Tuesday posted quarterly earnings that met expectations and sales that topped estimates, as higher prices helped the beverage maker overcome a volume decline in North America.

Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 49 cents adjusted vs. 49 cents expected
  • Revenue: $10.85 billion vs. $10.68 billion expected

Shares of the company rose less than 1% in premarket trading.

Coke reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.97 billion, or 46 cents per share, down from $2.03 billion, or 47 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 49 cents per share.

Net sales rose 7% to $10.85 billion. Coke’s organic revenue, which strips out acquisitions and divestitures, climbed 12% in the quarter.

Coke reported unit case volume growth of 2% for the quarter. The metric excludes pricing and foreign currency.

However, North American volume shrank 1%, as demand for Coke’s water, sports drinks, coffee and tea fell. For comparison, rival PepsiCo saw volume for its North American beverage unit fall 6% in the fourth quarter. Pepsi executives said high borrowing costs and lower personal savings squeezed consumers’ budgets, leading shoppers to seek out private-label options or smaller pack sizes.

For 2024, Coke is forecasting organic revenue growth of 6% to 7% and an increase in comparable earnings per share of 4% to 5%. The company expects that foreign exchange rates will weigh on both its earnings and revenue for the full year.

Looking to the first quarter, Coke is anticipating a 4% headwind from currency exchange rates on its comparable revenue. The company also expects foreign exchange to slow its earnings per share growth, and anticipates an 8% hit from currency changes during the period.

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