Sunday 26 May 2019

Sales fizz: Brexit stockpiling boosts Coca-Cola

It’s the real thing: An employee inspects bottles of Coca-Cola as they travel along a production line. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
It’s the real thing: An employee inspects bottles of Coca-Cola as they travel along a production line. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Craig Giammona

Coca-Cola, locked in a renewed battle for global beverage sales with rival PepsiCo, rose in early trading as its push beyond sugary drinks helped it beat on profit in the first quarter.

The beverage giant got a boost from better sales in China, where CEO James Quincey said bottled water and trademark Coke are performing well.

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The company also said it got a boost in the quarter from bottlers in the UK building inventory ahead of Brexit.

Global unit case volume, a key measure for Coke, rose 2pc, fuelled by a 7pc spike in Asia Pacific. Still, volumes slipped in North America, where both Coke and PepsiCo have boosted advertising spending as they battle for customers. "The bigger and smaller players are being very active - it's a vibrant industry that's growing," Mr Quincey said. "It means we have to up our game."

Coke, as it tries to fend off Pepsi and other upstart competitors, has been diversifying beyond sugary drinks.

Shares rose as much as 4.2pc before paring some of the gains. The stock has been roughly flat this year, trailing the 14pc gain for PepsiCo.

Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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