Coca-Cola sales powered by emerging markets

Coca-Cola says its profit rose in the third-quarter as the world's biggest beverage maker managed to sell more of its drinks despite choppy economic conditions.

3rd quarter profit $2.45B

Coca-Cola reports sales of soda are flat in North America, but grew 22 per cent in India and eight per cent in China. (Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press)

Coca-Cola says its profit rose in the third-quarter as the world's biggest beverage maker managed to sell more of its drinks despite choppy economic conditions.

The maker of Sprite, Powerade and Vitaminwater said global sales volume edged up two per cent, fueled by its performance in emerging markets such as China, India and Russia.

Although the Atlanta-based company is struggling to sell more of its namesake soda back at home, it has continued to boost sales by introducing smaller cans and bottles that better fit with people's lifestyles, as well as focusing more heavily on other drinks, such as flavoured water.

North American sales flat

In North America, for instance, soda volume was flat for the period, following a four per cent decline in the previous quarter and flat growth a year ago. But uncarbonated drinks such as tea, juice and bottled water, rose five per cent. As a result, overall volume for the region rose two per cent.

Meanwhile, soda sales are faring much better in developing markets; the company said its namesake brand saw volume growth of 22 per cent in India. In China, soda volume rose eight per cent.

The company blamed volatile economic conditions for more disappointing results in other parts of the world. In Europe, volume fell one per cent. Coca-Cola also cited hurricanes for a two per cent volume in Mexico.

For the quarter, the company said it earned $2.45 billion US, or 54 cents per share, up from $2.31 billion, or 50 cents per share, a year ago.

Not including one-time items, earnings per share were 53 cents, which was in line with Wall Street expectations.

Revenue fell three per cent to $12.03, hurt by structural changes and unfavourable currency exchange rates. Analysts had expected $12.05 billion, according to FactSet.

The results for the quarter were boosted by a gain related to a bottling transaction in Brazil.

Shares of Coca-Cola Co. rose 1.6 per cent at $38.51.

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