Coca-Cola's profit rises as volume grows overseas

NEW YORK Coca-Cola (KO) says its profit rose 13 percent in the fourth quarter as the world's biggest beverage company sold more of its drinks overseas.

The Atlanta-based company said global sales volume rose 3 percent, driven by international growth. In the flagship North American market, volume rose just 1 percent, boosted by its Powerade sports drinks and bottled teas. Soda volume declined 2 percent.

The results come as Coca-Cola, which also makes Fanta, Minute Maid and Dasani water, relies on a shifting mix of drinks for growth in North America amid intensifying criticism of sugary sodas. Give the saturated U.S. and European markets, Coca-Cola is also increasingly looking for growth in countries where the ranks of middle-class customers are growing quickly. In the latest quarter, for example, the company said sales volume rose 12 percent in Russia and 13 percent in Turkey.

Volume in Europe declined 5 percent, which the company blamed on the uncertain economic climate.

For the October-to-December period, The Coca-Cola Co. earned $1.87 billion, or 41 cents per share. That's compared with $1.66 billion, or 36 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Not including one-time items, the company said it earned 45 cents per share.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $11.46 billion.

Analysts on average expected an adjusted profit of 44 cents per share on revenue of $11.53 billion.

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