Coca-Cola's global reach offset European weakness

Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:36pm EDT
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By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co KO.N reported a higher-than-expected second quarter profit on Tuesday as rising consumption of its drinks in emerging markets offset declines in Europe.

But the world's largest soft drink company, maker of Sprite, Minute Maid orange juice and vitaminwater, said tough economic conditions were taking a toll, dampening the enthusiasm of investors, who sent the shares up nearly 3 percent in morning trading.

"We recognize that consumers across the globe continue to feel the effects and impacts of prolonged uncertainty in Europe, the further cooling of the economy in China and the protracted recovery here in the United States," said Coke Chief Executive Muhtar Kent.

Coke shares were up $1.39, or 1.8 percent, at $77.87 in afternoon trading, after rising as high as $78.66 earlier in the session.

Kent told Reuters the connectedness of the modern world was contributing to the economic strife.

"We've always been used to crises coming and passing like a river, and then going, until the next one. But I think more and more, we're seeing that the world is a much more connected place," Kent said.

He added that, after years of astronomical growth in China, it was natural for the economy to slow a bit.

"When you get up higher, the oxygen gets thinner," he said.   Continued...

Bottles of Coca-Cola sit on a supermarket shelf in Gilbert, Arizona October 20, 2009. REUTERS/Joshua Lott