Coke Zero Sugar Launch, Sprite Growth Fuel Coca-Cola 3Q Momentum

Posted On: 10/31/2017

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ATLANTA -- Coca-Cola Co. said its new Cola Zero Sugar, a reformulated version of Coke Zero, and increased sales of Sprite helped fuel strong third-quarter results.

The Atlanta-based beverage giant posted net income of $1.45 billion, or 33¢ a share, up 38% from $1.05 billion, or 24¢ a share, in the third quarter of 2016. Revenue fell 14.6% to $9.08 billion from $10.63 billion year over year. Coke pointed to its refranchising efforts to explain part of the revenue decline but also said it has been cutting costs by refranchising its low-margin bottling operations and reducing its workforce.

Coca-Cola's overall volume in North America remained flat in the third quarter, but sales rose 3%, helped by price increases and strong demand for certain products. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, which Coke launched in the U.S. this August, doubled its volume growth this quarter from last year, the company said. Increased sales of Sprite and ready-to-drink tea coffee offset a decline in Diet Coke sales.

Coke said it continues to find ways to reduce the amount of added sugar in many beverages around the world and remains on track to reformulate more than 500 products this year.

In early October, the company acquired the Topo Chico premium sparkling mineral water brand in the United States. It also launched a line of Dunkin' Donuts-branded iced coffee beverages earlier this year, and said performance is exceeding expectations.