Update: Coca-Cola Revenue And Profit Top Estimates

By Ciara LinnaneMarketWatch Pulse

The Coca-Cola Co. said Tuesday it had net income of $1.23 billion, or 28 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, up from $770 million, or 17 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 38 cents, excluding noncash charges releated to refranchising in North America and restructuring costs. Revenue fell to $10.0 billion from $10.9 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of 37 cents and revenue of $9.9 billion. Chief Executive Muhtar Kent said the company is planning to accelerate the pace of a streamlining program with plans to refranchise 100% of its company-owned North American bottling territories by the end of 2017. It has also agreed to refranchise its Chinese bottling operations. "Expanding Coca-Cola bottlers in various regions will grow in terms of revenue, employment and reach as we transition company-owned operations to the franchise system," he said. "The Coca-Cola Company will return to its focus as a higher margin, higher return and less capital intensive operation. With the accelerated refranchising plans announced today, we will move from a system where about 18% of our volume was produced by company-owned bottlers in 2015 to about 3%." Shares were slightly lower premarket, but are up 3.4% in the last 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 9.6%.

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