Company Announces New 500 Million-Share Buyback Program
ATLANTA -- The Coca-Cola Co.'s third-quarter net earnings increased 3.9% as the beverage company's margins improved on lower costs and higher case volume.
North America volume grew 2% in the quarter and year-to-date, and international volume grew 5% in the quarter and year-to-date. The beverage giant has seen its results challenged by Americans reducing their soft-drink consumption, rising costs for raw materials and pockets of economic uncertainty, such as Europe and China, The Wall Street Journal reported.
To address the changing demands of its marketplace, Coca-Cola is reorganizing its operating and management structure around three major businesses -- Coca-Cola International, Coca-Cola Americas and Bottling Investments Group -- starting Jan. 1. | SEE STORY
Coca-Cola, the world's largest beverage company, reported a profit of $2.31 billion, or 50¢ a share, up from $2.22 billion, or 4¢, a year earlier. Revenue increased to $12.34 billion, or 0.8% -- or rose 6% on a comparable currency basis. Worldwide unit case volume increased 4%.
Gross margin improved to 60.7% from 60.2% as input costs declined 0.5%.
Coca-Cola Co. chairman and chief executive Muhtar Kent said: "We continue to deliver consistent and solid performance, with our business growing worldwide volume by 4% in the quarter and 5% year-to-date. Importantly, we realized growth in the quarter across all five of our global geographic operating groups, despite continued volatility in the worldwide economy. We have been able to crack the calculus for growth in this environment. We have done this by consistently investing in our system and our brands to ensure that our global portfolio is more relevant and healthier today than it has ever been. We remain resolutely focused on ensuring that we leverage our wonderful heritage and fuse it with what is expected by our consumers today in order to earn and sustain our place in their daily lives tomorrow. "
See the official release:
The Coca-Cola Company Reports Third Quarter and Year-to-Date 2012 Results
In other news, Coca-Cola's board of directors approved a plan to buy back 500 million shares, valued at about $18.9 billion, at its closing price on Oct. 18, as it returns cash to investors.
The new program will take effect upon the conclusion of the company's current program, which began in 2006. This will not impact its previously announced targeted range of $2.5 billion to $3 billion in net share repurchases this year.
Analysts following the company noted that Coca-Cola has risen 48% since Kent took over in July 2008, compared with an 9.9% gain for rival PepsiCo Inc. Kent has pledged to reach $200 billion in revenue for the company and its bottlers globally by 2020, double the sales generated in 2010.
Separately, the board of directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of 25.5¢ per common share. The dividend is payable Dec. 17 to shareowners of record as of Nov. 30, 2012.