Earnings Preview: Coca-Cola to report 1Q

Investors to look for growth in Coca-Cola's 1Q results as North Americans drink less soda

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Coca-Cola reports its first-quarter results Tuesday, which should give a snapshot of which of the company's more than 500 brands are helping fuel growth in key markets, such as North America.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Atlanta-based company is struggling to grow overall sales volume in North America, where people are drinking less soda.

In the last three months of 2012, for example, Coca-Cola's overall volume for the region rose just 1 percent, fueled by its Powerade sports drinks and bottle teas. Soda volume fell 2 percent.

John Faucher, a JP Morgan analyst, expects flat North American volumes and 3 percent growth for global sales volumes. The company is enjoying much stronger growth in developing markets where the ranks of middle-class consumers are growing.

WHY IT MATTERS: Coca-Cola Co. is the world's biggest beverage maker and its stable of products is in many ways a reflection of changing drinking habits around the globe. Even as soda consumption in developed markets such as the U.S. slows, for example, the company has grown by selling other drinks, including bottled waters and sports drinks.

Still, soda remains Coca-Cola's namesake business and the company is trying to combat criticism that its sugary drinks contribute to rising obesity rates. In January, the company aired its first TV ad addressing the issue, noting that weight gain is the result of consuming calories of any kind, not just soda. Similar ads are rolling out in other countries throughout the year.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Adjusting for a stock split, the company earned $2.05 billion, or 45 cents per share, adjusting for a stock split, on revenue of $11.14 billion.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts on average expect earnings per share to be even from a year ago on sales of $11 billion, according to FactSet. There were two fewer selling days in the quarter.

View Comments (1)