Coca-Cola Posts Higher Quarterly Revenue -- 2nd Update
By Jennifer Maloney and Dave Sebastian
Coca-Cola Co. said its sales volume in March returned to
pre-pandemic levels as the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines allows more
people to eat out again.
The beverage giant's sales plummeted a year ago as restaurants,
stadiums, cinemas and other venues closed around the world. The
company said demand steadily improved in the first quarter of this
year, and in March sales volume reached the same level it stood in
Coke Chief Executive James Quincey said he expects that positive
trajectory to continue, despite new pandemic-related lockdowns in
some parts of the world.
"The rollout of the vaccines is ultimately starting to work,"
particularly in the U.S. and the U.K., he said in an interview. But
he noted that it would take time to distribute the vaccine in
countries such as India, which is battling a new surge in
"Parts of the world will get vaccinated and will start to come
out and particularly some of the developing markets are going to
take longer -- not just more months but, you know, into next year
and potentially beyond -- to really get it under control," Mr.
Quincey said. He added that the possibility of new variants
presents a bit of the unknown.
This year, Coke expects high-single-digit percentage growth in
organic revenue, which excludes currency swings and acquisitions or
divestitures. On that basis, Coke's revenue grew 6% in the quarter
ended April 2.
The company's unit-case volume, or the number of 24 8-ounce
servings of finished beverages sold, was flat for the quarter
compared with the same period a year earlier. Its volume fell by 6%
in the U.S. and by 2% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa but
grew by 9% in Asia. Even as the U.S. reopens, fountain-drink sales
there are still weak, Mr. Quincey said, noting that "it's not an
The company said its profit for the quarter fell 19% to $2.25
Separately on Monday, Coca-Cola said it plans to list Coca-Cola
Beverages Africa as a separate, publicly traded company. The
Atlanta-based company said it would sell a portion of its stake in
the Africa bottling business through the initial public offering,
which it expects within the next 18 months. Shares will be listed
in Amsterdam and Johannesburg, with Amsterdam being the primary
exchange, the company said.
The stand-alone listing would let the unit access capital
independently to meet investment needs, said Jacques Vermeulen, CEO
of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. Coca-Cola said that the move is in
line with its goal of selling off its bottling operations and that
it sees Africa as a growth market.
Layoffs and other cost-cutting measures have helped Coke
mitigate its revenue declines and improve operating profit margins.
The company, which employed 80,300 people as of the end of last
year, in December said it would cut 2,200 jobs. It has also
narrowed its focus on core brands, dropping smaller ones such as
Tab, a diet soda popular in the 1970s, and Zico coconut water.
Write to Jennifer Maloney at firstname.lastname@example.org and Dave
Sebastian at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 19, 2021 10:05 ET (14:05 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.