Coca-Cola hopeful Covid-19 vaccines will reverse profit slide

New York (AFP) –


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 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 Exeucutive 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 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.