Coca-Cola Co. (COKE.O) jumped as the beverage giant’s earnings per share beat estimates, with the company fending off competition and diversifying beyond sugary drinks.
- Global unit case volume rose 2 per cent in the first quarter, fueled by a 7 per cent spike in Asia Pacific.
- Coke, grappling with currency pressure and geopolitical tensions, previously said earnings would essentially be flat this year, and it reiterated that outlook on Tuesday. The company also said it got a boost in the quarter from bottlers in the U.K. building inventory ahead of Brexit.
- The results mirror rival PepsiCo Inc.’s strong start to 2019. Coke, which has raised prices to offset higher costs, said it logged double-digit growth for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar globally, with its orange vanilla flavor in the U.S. particularly strong.
- Coke said it will release Costa ready-to-drink coffee in the second quarter, its latest push to boost sales with drinks other than sugary soda. The company to date hasn’t laid out its strategy for the U.K. chain, which it bought for $5.1 billion.
- Still, its home market remains a weaker spot. Volumes in North America slipped 1 per cent, marking the second straight decline.
- Coke shares rose as much as 3.9 per cent in early trading. The stock has been roughly flat this year through Monday’s close, trailing the 14 per cent gain for PepsiCo.