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Coca-Cola profits fall as it adds new non-soda low-sugar beverages

New York, United States | AFP | Coca-Cola reported lower earnings Tuesday on restructuring costs and flat volumes as it touts new low-sugar beverages in response to flagging demand for soda.

Net income in the first quarter was $1.2 billion, down 20.3 percent from the year-ago period.

Revenues fell 11.3 percent to $9.1 billion, reflecting lower sales from bottlers that were sold to franchisees as part of a corporate reorganization.

One-time costs associated with the bottling refranchising also dented earnings.

Volumes were flat globally, including in North America, the biggest region by revenue. Volumes were down three percent in Latin America due to weakness in Brazil and Venezuela.

New products include “Honest Sport,” a sports drink that is an offshoot of the low-sugar Honest Tea. The company is also launching Coca-Cola Plus in Japan, a no-sugar drink with dietary fiber aimed at Japan’s large aging population.

“We are rapidly evolving our growth model to make changes that will result in an even more consumer-centric portfolio that meets people’s changing tastes and preferences,” said president James Quincey, who will become chief executive next month.

“Importantly, these portfolio changes will help our consumers moderate the amount of added sugar they consume.”

Coca-Cola said it is boosting its cost-cutting program to reach $800 million annually by 2019.

Coca-Cola shares were up 0.1 percent to $43.32 in pre-market trade.



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