Coca-Cola Co.'s first-quarter profit climbed 19 percent as the world's largest drink maker continued to see rapid growth overseas.
That offset persistent weakness in the U.S. as shoppers skimped on purchases of soda, water, juices and teas.
The results were weaker than analyst expectations. The company earned $1.61 billion, or 69 cents per share, in the quarter ending April 2. That's up from earnings of $1.35 billion, or 58 cents a share, in the same period last year.
Revenue rose 5 percent to $7.53 billion.
Analysts expected earnings of 75 cents per share on revenue of $7.72 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
Shares fell 73 cents to $54.59.
Worldwide case volume rose 3 percent, with international case volume growing faster at 5 percent. The company has been courting international drinkers as their economies improve by pitching its drinks as an affordable luxury. In North America, shoppers cut back on such purchases in the recession.
Eurasia and Africa led international growth, with volume up 11 percent. India's volume grew 29 percent and Turkey's 18 percent.
Elsewhere, Brazil's volume gained 12 percent. The flagship Coca-Cola brand posted double-digit growth in Russia, Egypt, Brazil, India, Vietnam and the Philippines.
About three-fourths of Coca-Cola's revenue came from outside North America in the quarter. North America is the world's biggest soft drink market, but it has been weak as people shift to juices and teas.
Total case volume — including soft drinks and juices — fell 2 percent in the quarter. But soft drink volume declined 1 percent, less steep than previous quarters. The company credited its marketing campaigns for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics.
Sales of uncarbonated drinks such as water, juices and teas fell 2 percent in North America. People have been switching to those drinks because of health concerns, but the company noted people are cutting back on these purchases because of the recession.
Uncarbonated drinks grew 8 percent worldwide, driven by a 12 percent increase outside North America.
Also Tuesday, Coca-Cola named North American President Steve Cahillane to lead a new business unit called Coca-Cola Refreshments. It will incorporate the newly acquired Coca-Cola Enterprises North American bottling operations, North American food service, the Minute-Maid and Odwalla juice businesses and North American supply-chain operations.
The appointment will take effect after Coca-Cola closes on the acquisition of the bottler. That's expected in the fourth quarter.
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