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Coca-Cola Shares Rise As Profit Beats Estimates

Coca-Cola shares rose as much as 7.7% after saying profit fell 18%, less than many analysts expected.
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Updated from 9:54 a.m.

Coca-Cola's

(KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report

shares rose as much as 7.7% after the soft drink maker beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter profit as overseas sales rose.

The Atlanta-based soft-drink icon made $995 million, or 43 cents per share, down 18% from $1.21 billion, or 52 cents per share, a year earlier.

Coke said that excluding a charge related to its Coca-Cola Enterprises business, it earned 64 cents a share. Restructuring costs and writedowns also had an impact. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting profit before charges of 61 cents per share on revenue of $7.52 billion.

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The stock rose to an intraday high of $44.45 before settling back to $43.82 in afternoon trading. That's still a gain of $2.55, or 6.2%, for the shares.

Revenue dropped 3% to $7.13 billion from $7.33 billion a year ago. Many global consumer products makers struggled during the quarter as the stronger dollar shrunk profits from products sold in other currencies. Coke reported that operating income was dragged down 9% by

currency comparisons.

Cash flow from operations was $7.6 billion for the year, compared with $7.1 billion in 2007.

In emerging markets, Coke reported that unit case volume increased 29% in China, 28% in India, and by double digits in Eastern Europe. Latin America improved, as sales in Mecixo rose 6% and Brazil was up 7% in the quarter. Europe's growth was 2%. North American unit case volume declined 3% and Japan was flat.

"I do believe our global business model is relatively resilient, as we bring simple moments of pleasure to our consumers, nearly 1.6 billion times a day, for cents at a time," said Muhtar Kent, president and chief executive officer. "We recognize that 2009 will bring many unique challenges to us and our consumers, customers, and bottling partners. Yet, I believe that our solid brand and business fundamentals -- together with a fundamentally sound balance sheet, robust cash generating model and strong global bottling system -- provide a sound foundation for our management team to continue driving long-term sustainable growth."

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com. Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.