Coca-Cola's revenue misses Wall Street expectations

Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:22pm EDT
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By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co (KO.N: Quote) reported quarterly revenue that came in short of Wall Street expectations on Tuesday, hurt by declines in Europe and Asia where it sold more lower-priced drinks amid economic uncertainty the company expects to continue into 2013.

The world's biggest soft-drink maker, with brands such as Sprite, Fanta and Minute Maid, also said revenue and profit were hurt by the stronger U.S. dollar, which reduces the value of overseas sales.

Still, earnings were in line with analysts' expectations and Coca-Cola shares fell only 27 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $37.86 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Coca-Cola gets most of its sales from outside the United States, so shifts in currency can have a big effect. In the third quarter that ended on September 28, the strong dollar shaved 5 percentage points of growth from net revenue and 7 points from operating income.

Aside from currency, results in Asia, particularly China, disappointed some analysts, though Sanford Bernstein analyst Ali Dibadj said it was not surprising, given the softening of consumer sentiment and the slowing of an economy that had been a growth engine for multinational companies in recent years.

"China is slowing down a little bit for the long-term benefit of China. As China will settle, there's a little bit of adjustment," Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent told Reuters. "Take a plane -- when it leaves cruising altitude and is going to land, the ride gets rougher. But it will settle."

Kent said he expects settling into a lower growth rate will happen within the next few months.

Sales volume rose 3 percent in the Pacific region; JP Morgan analyst John Faucher expected 4.5 percent growth.   Continued...

Bottles of Coca-Cola are seen in a warehouse at the Swire Coca-Cola facility in Draper, Utah March 9, 2011. REUTERS/George Frey