NEW YORK—Coca-Cola announced a jump in fourth-quarter profits Tuesday on higher volumes and prices and said it would fully re-franchise bottling operations in North America and China in a cost-cutting move.
Net income for the 2015 fourth quarter was $1.2 billion, up 60.6% compared with the year-ago period.
Revenues fell 8% to $10 billion.
Coca-Cola's global volume grew 3% in the quarter, driven especially by gains in still products such as bottled water, juice and sports drinks. Volumes for still products jumped six percent globally, as well as in the key North American market.
Volumes in sparkling beverages grew two percent, with Coke soda gaining one percent and Coke Zero seven percent, partially offset by a 5% drop in Diet Coke volumes.
Earnings were also boosted by a 9.2% drop in expenses to $3.9 billion and a 2% increase in pricing; those improvements helped to offset the negative effects of the strong dollar.
For the year, Coca-Cola reported net income of $7.3 billion, up 3.6% from the year-ago period. Revenues dropped 3.7% to $44.3 billion.
Coca-Cola said it has reached agreements to sell bottler facilities accounting for more than 40 percent of its volume in the United States. It plans to re-franchise the entire North American region by the end of 2017.
Coca-Cola also has entered into a preliminary agreement to re-franchise its company-owned bottling operations in China to its partners China Foods Limited and Swire Beverage Holdings Limited.
"The acceleration of our global refranchising marks a step change in our efforts to refocus the Coca-Cola Company on its core business of building strong, valuable brands and leading a system of strong bottling partners," said chief executive Muhtar Kent.
Shares of Coca-Cola rose 0.5% to $42.75 in opening trade.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016