Coca-Cola hopeful Covid-19 vaccines will reverse profit slide
New York, United States: Coca-Cola reported Monday a decline in first-quarter earnings amid continued weakness in away-from-home sales, but said increased vaccine availability was boosting sales in some markets.
The soda giant, which relies on sporting events, concerts, and other public venues for a significant fraction of its sales, described the performance as a mixed bag, depending on the region.
Coca-Cola scored stronger volumes in China and India, but lower volumes in the United States and Europe due to lingering effects from Covid-19.
"We are encouraged by improvements in our business, especially in markets where vaccine availability is increasing and economies are opening up, and we remain confident in our full-year guidance," said Chief Executive James Quincey.
Volumes "remain closely linked to consumer mobility," which relies on vaccines, Coca-Cola said.
"Through the first quarter, volume trends steadily improved each month, driven by a recovery in markets where coronavirus-related uncertainty has abated," Coca-Cola said. "The path to recovery, however, remains asynchronous around the world."
Net income was $2.2 billion, down 19 percent from the year-ago period, while revenues rose five percent to $9.0 billion.
Besides its trademark cola products, Coca-Cola has been expanding its hard seltzer products in Latin America, Europe, and the United States, and launching more flavored water items.
The company's forecast includes a jump in by "high single digits to low double digits" in earnings-per-share in 2021.
Coca-Cola rose 1.0 percent to $54.24 in pre-market trading.