The company said it earned $888 million, or 35 cents a share, in the third quarter, the same per-share result as a year ago, and in line with reduced estimates of analysts. Total sales edged down to $4.74 billion from $4.95 billion a year earlier. The company said unit case volume, a key industry indicator that measures sales of 24 eight-ounce servings, declined.That's excluding a 1-cent-a-share gain from the merger of two Coke-affiliated German bottlers. A year earlier, Coke (KO) netted $1.01 billion, or 40 cents a share, including a 5-cent-a-share gain from "several bottling transactions."
Unit case volume, meanwhile, rose a meager 3 percent, off sharply from an 11-percent gain in the year-earlier quarter. The company warned analysts last month that second-half profits and unit case volume would be less than expected owing to economic turmoil overseas. Coke derives three-quarters of its profits from outside the United States.
Before the company issued its warning, Coke was expected to earn 39 cents in the third quarter and grow unit case volume by 7 to 8 percent.
"With a business system operating in nearly 200 countries, we are not immune to the economic difficulties that currently exist in many markets around the world," said M. Douglas Ivester, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.
Coke stock, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, rose 3/8 to 64 3/8 Wednesday.
Written By Jeffry Bartash