Coca Cola Quarterly Profit Drops 18%

Full-year net income falls 3%

Coca-Cola Co. said Feb. 12 its 2008 fourth-quarter profit dropped 18 % to $995 million as it faced falling demand amid a sharp global economic slowdown.

For the full year, the Atlanta-based world's largest soft drink maker's profit decreased 3% to $5.8 billion.

"While certainly not crisis proof, as no company is, I do believe our global business model is relatively resilient," said company Chief Executive Muhtar Kent.

The company had slashed costs and raised prices to counter falling consumer demand for soft drinks in North America, its largest market reeling from recession.

"We recognize that 2009 will bring many unique challenges to us and our consumers, customers, and bottling partners," Kent said.

He said the company topped its long-term growth targets despite a "very challenging economic environment" and gained volume and "value share" in most of its leading markets.

During the last quarter, Coca Cola increased turnover by 29% in China and 28% in India, its key emerging markets.

The company also said that it was on track to deliver $500 million in annualized savings from "productivity initiatives" by year-end 2011.

"The continued acceleration of these efforts will enable cash flows to be redeployed to drive investments for growth," it said.

The profit excluding special items amounted to 64 cents per share in the fourth quarter, better than the 61 cents expected by Wall Street.

Overall revenues fell 3% in the quarter to $7.12 billion, but rose 11% for the year to $31.9 billion.

Copyright, Agence France-Presse

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