Coca-Cola’s Profit on the Top of Analysts’ Estimates

Coca-Cola Co. -the world’s largest soft-drink maker- reported first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates, helped by pricing increases and demand in North America.

Net income rose 7.9 % to $2.05 billion, or 89 cents a share, from $1.9 billion, or 82 cents, a year earlier, Atlanta- based Coca-Cola said today in a statement. Analysts projected 87 cents.

Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent has introduced smaller package sizes to attract price-conscious consumers as part of an effort to spur sales in North America, where the soft drink industry is in a seven-year decline.

Beverage sales volume for the unit climbed 2 % in the quarter, driven by demand for Powerade energy drinks and Dasani water, contributing to a 5 % gain globally.

Coca-Cola rose 1.8 % to $73.75 at 9:34 a.m. in New York. Before today, the shares had gained 3.5 % this year, while PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) has fallen 0.5 %.

Revenue advanced 5.9 % to $11.1 billion, according to the statement. The company raised global pricing 3 % in the quarter, outpacing last year’s 1.5 increase, as Bloomberg stated.

The North America unit, Coca-Cola’s largest, accounted for about 44 % of global sales. The Pacific unit, the company’s second-largest region, boosted volume sales 8 %, compared with 5 % growth a year earlier. The division was helped by a 3 % jump in Japan.

In emerging markets, India jumped 20 % while Brazil increased 4 %, as both outpaced gains in the first quarter a year earlier. China advanced 9 %.

To be mentioned that Coca-Cola’s gross margin narrowed to 61 % from 62.5 % a year earlier.