Coca-Cola's Profit Plunges 20% on Refranchising Costs

Coca-Cola reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit due to higher costs related to refranchising its North America bottling operations.

The company is offloading much of its low-margin bottling business to cut costs amid falling demand for carbonated beverages in North America.

Coca-Cola had warned in February that the refranchising was turning out to be costlier than previously anticipated.

Global soda sales fell 1 percent in the first quarter ended March 31, the company said on Tuesday.

Net income attributable to the company's shareholders fell to $1.18 billion, or 27 cents per share, from $1.48 billion, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 43 cents per share.

Revenue fell 11.3 percent to $9.12 billion, declining for the eighth straight quarter.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 44 cents per share and revenue of $8.87 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)