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Coca-Cola jumps as bets on new products pay off

Coke zero sugar products drive brisk revenue growth in the third quarter.

Coca-Cola international sales and low-sugar offerings like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar drove brisk revenue growth in the third quarter. Shares jumped in early trading before paring much of the gain.

The beverage giant said unit case volume grew by 2%, while net revenue expanded 8% to $9.5 billion. The key metric of organic revenue, which strips out some items like currency effects, jumped 5% — higher than analysts’ average estimate for a 4.1% gain.

Key insights

  • As US consumers increasingly opt for sparkling waters and plant-based milks over sugary beverages, Coke is betting big on offerings in these categories and reported double-digit volume growth in Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in the US.
  • The expansion overseas is working on a number of brands. The company reported “strong growth” in Minute Maid Pulpy in China and coffee and tea in Japan. And local celebrity endorsements and digital marketing helped the company’s smartwater line become India’s second-largest premium water brand.
  • Coke maintained its projection for 5% organic sales growth this year — a sign it doesn’t see its performance slowing at the end of the year. The company now expects to spend about $2.2 billion in capital expenditures, up from the prior forecast of $2 billion.

Market reaction

  • Coke shares rose as much as 2.9% to $55.35 in early trading on Friday before paring much of the gain. The stock has risen 14% this year, trailing the S&P 500 Index.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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