earnings per share rose 12% in the second quarter thanks to a boost from strong sales of noncarbonated beverages.
Coke's net income was $1.36 billion, or 55 cents a share, compared with $1.22 billion, or 49 cents a share in the same quarter last year. The latest numbers include a charge of $43 million, or 2 cents a share, related to restructuring efforts that took place in the company's North American and German business units.
Consensus estimates from a poll of 19 analysts had forecast that the soft-drink giant would earn 54 cent a share.
Revenue in the second quarter rose 6% to $5.69 billion from $5.37 billion a year earlier. Sales of noncarbonated beverages grew 20%, while sales of carbonated beverages rose 2%.
Worldwide unit case volume increased 5% in the second quarter and 4% for the first six months of fiscal 2003. Year-to-date unit case growth increased 5% in international operations and 3% in North America.
During the quarter, Coca-Cola said it benefited from a lower-than-expected tax rate and the weak dollar. The underlying tax rate fell to 22.8%, helping earnings by about 3 cents a share, and the company believes it will continue to have the benefit of favorable tax rates in the next two quarters. The dollar's decline boosted earnings in Asia and Europe. Unit case volume in Asia rose 4%, while European unit case volume jumped 7%.
Meanwhile, Coke has come under scrutiny after word came out last week that the U.S. Attorney's Office has begun an investigation into the fraud allegations raised in former Coke manager Matthew Whitley's lawsuit against the company. The suit alleges that the company employed improper accounting and deceptive marketing techniques.
Securities and Exchange Commission
previously initiated an informal probe of Coke.
Shares of Coke trading on the
New York Stock Exchange
recently rose 4% to $44.63.