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Coca-Cola Posts Earnings Beat and Lifts Full-Year Profit Forecast

Coca-Cola posts better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and lifts its full-year profit forecast as re-openings of restaurants, sports venues and movie theatres drive sales.

Coca-Cola on Wednesday posted better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and lifted its full-year profit forecast as major economies around the world continued with the re-opening of restaurants, sports venues and movie theatres -- and serving Coke.

Coca-Cola said adjusted third-quarter earnings were $2.47 billion, or 65 cents a share, up from $1.73 billion, or 55 cents a share, in the comparable year-earlier period. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of 59 cents a share.

Revenue rose 16% to $10 billion from $8.65 billion, well above analysts’ forecasts of $9.8 billion. Revenue growth was broad-based, “…with particular strength in markets where coronavirus-related uncertainty is abating,” Coca-Cola said.

“Our strategic transformation is enabling us to effectively navigate a dynamic environment and emerge stronger from the pandemic,” Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said. “While the recovery continues to be asynchronous around the world, we are investing for growth to drive long-term value for the system.

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Organic revenue, which excludes the impact of acquisitions, divestitures and foreign currency, climbed 14%. Unit case volume, which strips out the impact of currency and price changes, was up 6% and came in ahead of 2019 levels.

By category, sparkling soft drink sales grew 6%, resulting in volume ahead of 2019. Trademark Coca-Cola grew 5%, led by Europe, Middle East & Africa and Latin America sales. Sparkling flavors grew 7%, resulting in even performance on a two-year basis, led by solid growth in both Sprite and Fanta sales, Coca-Cola said.

Nutrition, juice, dairy and plant-based beverages grew 12% due to strong performance by Minute Maid Pulpy in China, Maaza in India and Del Valle in Mexico. Hydration, sports drinks, coffee and tea grew 6%, the company said. 

For the remainder of 2021, Coca-Cola said it now expects revenue growth of between 13% and 14%, up from a range of 12% to 14%,  and per-share earnings growth of 15% to 17%, up from previous guidance of a range of 13% to 15%.

At last check, shares of Coca-Cola were up 2.07% at $55.60. The stock is up 5.38% year to date.