Why Coca-Cola Earnings Were Better Than Expected

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) reported first-quarter 2018 results before markets opened Tuesday. The soft-drink maker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.47 on revenues of $7.6 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.43 on revenues of $9.12 billion. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $0.46 and $7.31 billion in revenues.

Net income rose 16% for the quarter, from $1.18 billion to $1.37 billion, and pretax income jumped 22%, from $1.51 billion to $1.83 billion.

Net revenues fell 16% for the quarter. The company attributed the decline primarily to refranchising of bottling territories that reduced sales by 26%. Organic revenues rose by 5% year over year.

Cash from operations totaled $613 million, down 20% from the year-ago quarter. Coke attributed the decrease to refranchising of North American bottling territories and one less day in the quarter. Free cash flow rose 5% to 339 million.

The company repurchased $927 million in stock during the quarter, and net share repurchases (non-GAAP) totaled $471 million.

In its outlook, the company said it continues to expect full-year adjusted EPS growth of 8% to 10% year over year and 4% revenue growth.

Analysts have estimated second-quarter EPS of $0.63 and revenues of $8.58 billion. For the full year, analysts currently estimate EPS of $2.09 and revenues of $31.49 billion.

CEO James Quincy said:

We’re encouraged with our first quarter performance as we continue our evolution as a consumer-centric, total beverage company. We have the right strategies in place and remain confident in our ability to achieve our full year guidance.

Coca-Colas shares traded up about 1.3% in Tuesday’s premarket, at $44.55, in a 52-week range of $42.19 to $48.62. The consensus 12-month price target was $50.03 before this morning’s report.

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