Coca-Cola Profits Lifted by China, India Sales

Volume soared 29% in China, 20% in India

Coca-Cola on Feb. 9 said net profit jumped 55% in the fourth quarter, lifted by sales volume growth in China, India and other key emerging markets.

The world's leading soft-drinks maker reported $1.54 billion in net profit in the final quarter of 2009, in line with market expectations. Revenue in the fourth quarter of $7.51 billion was up 5% from the same period a year earlier, mainly due to an increase in sales volumes.

Full-year profit of $6.82 billion marked a rise of 18% from the previous year. The company, which has more than 500 sparkling and still brands, reported full-year revenue fell 3% to $30.99 billion..

While the North America Group's unit sales volume slipped 1% in the fourth quarter, "primarily due to continued macroeconomic pressures impacting consumer spending and foodservice traffic," The Coca-Cola Co. said its international volume rose 6%.

Coca-Cola's growth in emerging markets such as India and China is helping it weather the weak U.S. economy, which is slowly recovering from the worst recession in decades. In the quarter, unit case volume growth posted strong gains in key emerging markets. Volume soared 29% in China, 20% in India and 8% in Brazil.

France led developed markets with a 12% increase in volume.

Muhtar Kent, chief executive, said that Coca-Cola "ended this year on a high note, delivering global volume and value share gains, comparable currency neutral revenue growth, improved productivity and increased cash flows."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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