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Coca-Cola Company (KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report  said Friday it sees improving operating income for this year, despite stiffer headwinds from a stronger U.S. dollar, as growth of its trademark soft drink, as well as zero-sugar and healthier options, drove solid third-quarter sales growth.

Coca-Cola said adjusted earnings for the three months ending on September 27 came in at 56 cents per share, down modestly from the same period last year and largely in-line with the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues were a bit firmer, rising 8% to $9.5 billion and topping analysts' estimates as Coca-Cola branded drinks, including Coke Zero, notched impressive international growth rates.

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Looking into the final months of 2019 Coca-Cola said its expects organic revenue growth of "at least 5%", a modest increase from its prior forecast, with full-year operating income growth of between 12% and 13% on a currency-neutral basis. Headwinds from a stronger U.S. dollar, which is trading around 3% higher from the same period last year on an index basis, will rise to between 8% and 9%, Coca-Cola said, up around 100 basis points from its second quarter estimate.

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"Our performance gives us confidence that our strategies are taking hold with our consumers, customers and system," said CEO James Quincey. "We are positioning the company to create a better shared future for all of our stakeholders by delivering on our vision and growing sustainably."

Coca-Cola shares bounced 1.6% higher following the earnings release and were last trading at around $54.61 each. That would push its year-to-date gain to around 16%, a figure that would still trail the 19.6% advance for the broader S&P 500 benchmark. 

Coke Zero, the drinks maker's sugar free soda, saw "double digit" sales growth, the company said, as its sparkling soft drinks grew 2%, lead by a 3% gain for traditional Coke around the world. Coke's sports drinks and water franchises saw 2% growth, while tea and coffee volume grew 4%.