Coca-Cola Results Hit by Foreign Exchange, Lower Volume

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The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 results before markets opened Tuesday. For the quarter, the soft-drink maker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.46 on revenues of $11.04 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.45 on revenues of $11.46 billion. The quarterly results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.46 and $11.31 billion in revenues.

For the full year, Coca-Cola posted EPS of $2.08 on revenues of $46.85 billion, compared with EPS of $2.01 and revenues of $48.02 billion in 2012 in the previous year. The consensus estimates called for EPS of $2.09 on revenues of $47.24 billion.

Currency exchange rates cost the company 2% on comparable net revenues and 4% on operating income for the quarter. On a constant currency basis, fourth-quarter operating income rose 6%. The currency impacts were somewhat less than the company’s reported impacts in the first three quarters of the fiscal year.

The big noise at the company came after the end of the quarter when it announced an investment in and partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) to develop a Keurig cold-drink at-home beverage system.

The company’s 2014 guidance is not encouraging. The impact of Coke’s acquisition of some of its bottlers will cost the company 1% of net revenues and operating income in 2014. Currency exchange rates are expected to cost the company 7% over the full year and 10% in the first quarter. To salve the wound, Coca-Cola will buy back $2.5 billion to $3 billion of its own shares.

Coke also said it would redirect an expected $1 billion in productivity savings by 2016 into “increased media investments.”

The company’s CEO said:

2013 was marked by ongoing global macroeconomic challenges in many markets around the world. … While we move forward in what remains an uncertain global economy, the long-term fundamentals driving our business and industry have not changed. A rising middle class, greater urbanization and increasing personal consumption expenditures in markets around the world will continue to drive greater demand for our beverages as consumers look for moments of refreshment.

Worldwide the company’s volume grew 1% in the quarter and is up 2% for the full year. That is actually down from 2% volume growth in the third quarter and down from 3% growth in the first six months of the year.

Coca-Cola shares were up about 0.1% in premarket trading, at $38.70 in a 52-week range of $36.83 to $43.43. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $45.10 before this report.

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