Coca-Cola Co.'s third-quarter net income rose 8.4 percent as it sold more of its soft drinks and juices around the world and U.S. sales extended their rebound.
The second consecutive quarter of improvements in its North American drinks business is encouraging news for Coca-Cola after four years of declines. The company also raised the value of shares it expects to buy back this year to $2 billion from $1.5 billion.
The world's largest soft drink maker said Tuesday it earned $2.06 billion or 88 cents per share in the three months ending Oct. 1, up from $1.9 billion or 81 cents per share last year. Excluding one-time items related to restructuring, the company earned 92 cents per share.
Revenue rose 4.7 percent to $8.43 billion.
Analysts expected the company to earn 89 cents per share on revenue of $8.3 billion in the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters. Their estimates typically exclude one-time items.
Shares rose in premarket trading past the 52-week high set Monday of $60, edging up 40 cents to $60.40.
Beverage volume in North America rose 2 percent. Worldwide, the figure rose 5 percent.
The soft drink industry has been hurting in the U.S. and other developed countries as shoppers limit their purchases in the weak economy. Shoppers are also turning to juices and teas for health reasons.
The company saw no gains in the amount of soft drinks it sold in North America, but it also saw no declines. Coca-Cola Zero posted double-digit volume growth, and Sprite and Fanta were also top performers.
Sales of juices and teas rose again, as the Atlanta-based company sold 8 percent more in the quarter. Powerade's sales volume rose 32 percent and Simply juices rose 23 percent.
Volume in Europe was flat, although France, the Nordic region and Great Britain, among other regions, showed gains. Eurasia and Africa and the Pacific's volume grew at least 11 percent.
Latin American volume grew 4 percent, on top of a 7 percent jump last year in the quarter.
Coca-Cola has been investing to expand its presence in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India and elsewhere to hook shoppers as they earn more money to spend on discretionary purchases, such as soft drinks. Again, those emerging markets were among the company's fastest-growing. China's volume grew 12 percent in the quarter, while Brazil's volume grew 13 percent and Russia's grew 30 percent.
The Coca-Cola brand's volume rose 4 percent around the world, making it the fastest-growing among the company's brands globally.
Coca-Cola said its integration of the North American operations of bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises is on track and the company expects to save at least $350 million per year, phased in over the next four years.
The company bought the operations earlier this year so it could better control distribution and be quicker to market with products — both key as the company keeps up with people's changing tastes. Rival PepsicCo Inc. has made similar moves.
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