Coca-Cola Expects First-Quarter Hit From Coronavirus of 1 Cent to 2 Cents a Share

Coca-Cola expects the coronavirus outbreak in China to trim first-quarter earnings by 1 cent to 2 cents a share. It also is raising its quarterly dividend
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Coca-Cola  (KO) - Get Report said it expects the coronavirus outbreak in China to trim first-quarter earnings by 1 cent to 2 cents a share, and announced it was raising its quarterly dividend..

The beverage giant also said it expects an impact of two to three points to unit case volumes and a one- to two-point impact to organic revenue in the period.

In a statement Friday, the company said it was reaffirming its full-year guidance despite impacts from the Covid-19 outbreak.

"These updates are based on current estimates," Coca-Cola said in a statement. "The situation with Covid-19 - or coronavirus - continues to evolve, and the company expects to provide more information during its next earnings call in April."

China ranks as the third-largest market in the world for Coca-Cola in terms of unit case volume, the company said. It added that it "sees great opportunities in this important market and will continue to invest for long-term growth."

Coca-Cola said it was "carefully following all government guidelines and taking precautionary steps to do what it can to prevent the further spread of the virus," adding it has "implemented precautionary measures to protect employees in China, which includes providing face masks and hand sanitizers; installing temperature screening in offices and manufacturing facilities; and setting up health monitoring mechanisms across the Coca-Cola system in China."

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect Coca-Cola to earn 49 cents a share in the first quarrer on sales of $8.82 billion.

The company said it was raising its dividend by 2.5% to 41 cents a share, payable April 1 to shareholders of record on March 16. 

Coca-Cola shares were up 0.17% to $59.82 in trading Friday.