The Coca-Cola (KO)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 18, 2011 9:30 am ET


Jackson Kelly - Vice President

Gary P. Fayard - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Member of North America Business Integration Team Steering Committee

Muhtar Kent - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chairman of Executive Committee and Chairman of North America Business Integration Team Steering Committee


Carlos A. LaBoy - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Caroline S. Levy - Credit Agricole Securities (USA) Inc., Research Division

Judy E. Hong - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Dara W. Mohsenian - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Kaumil S. Gajrawala - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Alice Beebe Longley - Buckingham Research Group, Inc.

William Pecoriello - Consumer Edge Research, LLC

John A. Faucher - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Mark Swartzberg - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division



At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the Coca-Cola Company's Third Quarter 2011 earnings results Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded. If you have any objection, you may disconnect at this time. [Operator Instructions] I would like to remind everyone that the purpose of this conference is to talk with investors and therefore, questions from the media will not be addressed. Media participants should contact Coca-Cola's media relations department if they have questions. I would now like introduce Jackson Kelly, Vice President and Investor Relations Officer. Mr. Kelly, you may begin.

Jackson Kelly

Good morning, and thank you for being with us today. I'm joined by Muhtar Kent, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Gary Fayard, our Chief Financial Officer. Following prepared remarks this morning, we will turn the call over for your questions.

Before we begin, I would like to remind you that this conference call may contain forward-looking statements, including statements concerning long-term earnings objectives and should be considered in conjunction with cautionary statements contained in our earnings release and in the company's most recent periodic SEC report. In addition, I would also like to note that we have posted schedules on our company website at, under the Reports and Financial Information tab in the Investors section, which reconcile certain non-GAAP financial measures that may be referred to by our senior executives in our discussion this morning, and from time-to-time, in discussing our financial performance to our results as reported under generally accepted accounting principles. Please look on our website for this information.

Now I'll turn the call over to Muhtar.

Muhtar Kent

Thanks, Jackson, and good morning, everyone. On behalf of our 140,000 associates at The Coca-Cola Company, I'm pleased to share our earnings report for the third quarter. Once again, we delivered performance results in line with or ahead of our long-term growth targets, making this the sixth consecutive quarter we have either met or exceeded our long-term growth targets.

We continue to advance our global momentum from a position of real strength, realizing growth across every one of our 5 geographic operating groups. For both the quarter and year-to-date, we once more gained global volume and value share in nonalcoholic ready-to-drink beverages. Our Global Sparkling Beverage portfolio keeps growing, up 4% for the quarter and 5% year-to-date. This growth was driven by brand Coca-Cola, which was up 3% in both the quarter and year-to-date. And earlier this month, Interbrand ranked Coke-Cola as the world's most valuable brand for the 12th consecutive year. Our Global Still Beverage portfolio is also performing well, up 9% for both this quarter and year-to-date. Importantly, we achieved these balanced quality results together with our system bottling partners during a time of ongoing global market volatility, which is a testament to our clear and focused vision, our strong brands and our solid execution.

Over the past few months, we've all seen a downturn in global consumer confidence. At the same time, the last few months have reinforced our belief in the resilience of the global consumer. In our business, we constantly track a number of key metrics. We look at total retail sales by country. We look at sales shifts across retail channels. We look at out of home dining and how many people are on the go. And what we've seen this past quarter is that, across the world, nonalcoholic beverages continue to generate increasing demand. The key success factor in this current challenging environment is for businesses small, medium or large to be able to generate sustainable growth. And I'm happy that we're able to continue to crack this much-needed algorithm of growth. In Q3 of 2011, we generated almost 250 million unit cases of incremental growth, excluding cross-license and acquired brands, with nearly 50% of this growth coming from sparkling beverages. Just to give you a perspective, this 250 million unit cases of organic volume growth translates into over $1.7 billion of retail value growth, all in 90 days. For the first 9 months of this year, our organic volume growth was over 820 million unit cases, equivalent to creating another India and Russia combined. This achievement of growth is the combined result of precise and focused execution by our inspired system in each quarter combined with the targeted investments made by our system a year or in some cases 2 years prior to the quarter, which is being reported.

So while we all see volatility in the external environment and have every reason to believe that this volatility will remain through the near-term, the assumptions that guided the development of our 2020 Vision still ring true. As we complete the seventh quarter in our 2020 Vision, we see a world where population keeps growing at a very rapid rate, up 200 million since just 2008. At the same time, the world's largest cities are growing and have grown by almost 100 million people in the same period since 2008. And the global middle class is also growing. In fact, since 2008 almost 200 million people have newly entered the middle class. We said it when we began our 2020 Vision journey and we say it again right now in 2011, our business was built for times like this. Our business is strong across channels and across consumer age groups. We're well-positioned to connect with global consumers who have a greater disposition to shop across multiple retail channels in search of real value. So simply said, we provide consumers with an affordable luxury as they enjoy moments of pleasure for pennies at a time, billions of times every day. In February of this year during our presentation at CAGNY, the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, we told you that when you have a consistent vision, a consistent belief in your brand, a consistent ethic of execution, the result is consistent quality performance. And while we may see an occasional bump along the road in a given quarter, every year since 2006, we've delivered volume and operating income growth in line with or ahead of our long-term growth targets. We said this, again at CAGNY back in February, that this trend remains true today. All of our attributes, a well aligned bottling franchise system, healthy brands, strong financial performance and a clear 2020 Vision have put us in a position of real strength as we push ahead towards 2020. And that's why even during times of ongoing global market uncertainty, The Coca-Cola Company keeps delivering consistent top line and bottom line results.

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