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Coca-Cola earnings dip; North America volume flat

Coca-Cola Tuesday reported that second-quarter earnings dipped, as it notched strong volume growth in Asia but flat volumes in North America, Europe and Latin America.

NEW YORK: Coca-Cola Tuesday reported that second-quarter earnings dipped, as it notched strong volume growth in Asia but flat volumes in North America, Europe and Latin America.

Net earnings at the US beverage giant came in at US$2.6 billion, down three per cent from the year-ago period. The year-over-year drop reflected in part a Venezuelan law capping profit margins.

"As we now reach the midpoint of the year, we have delivered sound financial performance year to date and demonstrated sequential improvement in our global volume growth," said chief executive Muhtar Kent. "While I am pleased with our progress to date, we remain focused on the work required to return our business to the level of sustainable growth we and our share owners expect."

Worldwide volumes grew three per cent, with an eight per cent jump in Asia Pacific thanks to strong results in China, India and other markets. In North America, brand Coca-Cola volume grew one per cent, but the gain was "tempered by softness in Diet Coke," the company said. In Europe, growth in Northwest Europe, Germany and Iberia was offset by declines in Central and Southern Europe. Overall volume in the region was unchanged.

Volume was also flat in Latin America, where Coca-Cola's sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil resulted in some marketing successes, even as these gains were offset by "aggressive competitive activity and a deteriorating macroeconomic environment," the company said.

Coca-Cola's results translated into adjusted earnings per share of 64 cents, a penny above expectations. Revenues dipped 1.4 per cent to US$12.57 billion, under the US$12.93 billion projected by analysts. A Dow component, Coca-Cola dropped 1.7 per cent to US$41.70 in pre-market trade.

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