CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) â¿¿ Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, which bottles beverages primarily for the Coca-Cola Co., said Wednesday its net income fell 45 percent in its first quarter, hurt by costs related to the recently passed health care reform bill.

But its adjusted earnings and its revenue beat Wall Street estimates, and its shares rose 26 cents to $56.20 in afternoon trading.

Company CEO J. Frank Harrison III said that he saw signs of improved consumer confidence during the first quarter.

"We continue to watch the overall economy with particular emphasis on unemployment trends and raw material prices," he said in a statement.

Coca-Cola Bottling said its net income fell to $4.7 million, or 51 cents per share, in the January-March period from $8.5 million, or 93 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding a mark-to-market accounting gains related to the company's fuel and aluminum hedging program and an increase in income tax expense related to the recently passed health care reform bill, its adjusted earnings came to 55 cents per share. That was a penny a share more than analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected. Analysts typically exclude one-time items from their estimates.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $347.5 million from $336.3 million last year. Analysts expected lower revenue of $337.5 million.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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