Coca-Cola earnings top estimates as cost cutting offsets pandemic's blow to sales

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A delivery truck driver unloads Coca-Cola Co. soft drinks in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Coca-Cola on Wednesday said that the coronavirus pandemic is still hurting its sales, but cost-cutting efforts helped it top analysts’ earnings estimates.

The company also released its first forecast since the crisis hit its business.

Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 47 cents, adjusted, vs. 42 cents expected
  • Revenue: $8.6 billion vs. $8.63 billion expected

The beverage giant reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.46 billion, or 34 cents per share, down from $2.04 billion, or 47 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding restructuring charges and other items, Coke earned 47 cents per share, topping the 42 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Net sales dropped 5% to $8.6 billion, missing expectations of $8.63 billion.

Unit case volume, which strips out the impact of foreign currency, shrank by 3%. All four of its beverage segments reported volume declines.

In 2021, Coke is expecting organic revenue growth in the high single digits and adjusted earnings growth in a range of high single digits to low double digits. Analysts’ prediction of 10.5% growth for its full-year earnings were on the higher end of the range.

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