Coca-Cola Co. (KO - Get Report) posted fourth-quarter profits that were largely in-line with analysts' forecast, but noted that 2019 organic revenue growth would slow and comparable earnings would likely remain flat thanks in part to a stronger U.S. dollar.
Coca-Cola said earnings for the three months ended in December came in at 43 cents per share, rising 9% from the same period last year and matching the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Coca-Cola said, fell 6% to $7.1 billion and narrowly beat the consensus estimate of $7.06 billion.
Looking into 2019, Coca-Cola said it sees organic revenues rising 4%, down from 5% in 2018, and a 12% to 13% gain in currency-neutral revenues. Headwinds in currency markets will hit net revenues by 6% to 7%, the company said. Comparable non-GAAP earnings, which totaled $2.08 in 2018, are expected to be within 1% of that figure, either to the upside or the downside, across the whole of 2019, Coca-Cola said, well shy of the Refinitiv forecast of $2.23 per share.
"I am pleased with our strong organic revenue and earnings growth in 2018. Our results demonstrate progress in our transformation as a consumer-centric, total beverage company and the power of a more strategically aligned system," said CEO James Quincey. "Coca-Cola has established a strong foundation to capitalize on long-term growth opportunities and drive sustained shareowner value."
Coca-Cola shares were down 7.4% to $46.13 on Thursday.
The U.S. dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six major global currencies, rose 1.1% over the three months ending in December, but ended the year 3.8% higher than the fourth quarter of 2017.
The index is currently trading at a three-month high of 97.20 and has risen more than 2% since early January.