AP News

Earnings Preview: Coca-Cola to report 4Q


NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola reports its fourth-quarter results Tuesday, which should give a snapshot of how the company's flagship U.S. business is faring amid growing scrutiny over sugary drinks and intensifying competition from PepsiCo.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Atlanta-based company has been relying on a shifting mix of products for growth in North America as people scale back on soda. In the previous quarter, for example, Coca-Cola's 2 percent increase in sales volume for the region was driven by non-carbonated drinks such as Powerade sports drink and Fuze teas. Overall volume for soft drinks was flat.

Soft drinks nevertheless remain an integral part of the company's business and investors will be looking to see how volumes in the category are holding up.

In addition to a broader movement away from sodas, Coca-Cola is facing stronger competition from PepsiCo, which has significantly stepped up marketing around its own namesake soda. PepsiCo reports its results Thursday. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the No. 3 soda company, reports on Wednesday.

WHY IT MATTERS: Coca-Cola is the world's biggest beverage company, with brands including Dasani water, Minute Maid juice and Fanta soda. The type of beverages that drive the company's sales are a reflection of shifting drinking habits at home and abroad. While the company is already a global presence, it's increasingly looking for growth in regions such as India and China where the ranks of middle-class people are expanding.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: The company earned $1.65 billion, or 72 cents per share, with results weighed down by restructuring charges. Revenue was $11.04 billion.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Following the company's two-for-one stock split this summer, analysts on average expect a profit of 44 cents per share on revenue of $11.51 billion, according to FactSet.


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