Why Coca-Cola Earnings Aren’t Good Enough

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Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) reported fourth-quarter results before markets opened Thursday. The soft-drink maker posted (EPS) of $0.43 on revenues of $7.1 billion. Thomson Reuters consensus estimates had called for $0.43 in EPS on revenue of $7.03 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $0.39 and $7.51 billion in revenue.

The latest results were impacted by headwinds of 13% from the combined impact of currency and the refranchising of company-owned bottling operations. Organic revenues grew 5% for the quarter, driven by concentrate sales growth of 1% and price/mix growth of 4%.

In the quarter, the company announced several changes in top leadership, including the election of a new president and chief operating officer, in addition to succession plans for the chief financial officer and the board chair.

Looking ahead to the 2019 full year, the company expects to see EPS shrinking/growing in the range of −1% to 1%, with revenues up about 4%. Consensus estimates call for $2.09 in EPS and $31.87 billion in revenue for the year.

James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola, commented:

I am pleased with our strong organic revenue and earnings growth in 2018. Our results demonstrate progress in our transformation as a consumer-centric, total beverage company and the power of a more strategically aligned system. Coca-Cola has established a strong foundation to capitalize on long-term growth opportunities and drive sustained shareowner value.

Shares of Coca-Cola were last seen down 7% at $46.26 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $41.45 to $50.84. The consensus price target is $51.88.

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