Coca-Cola’s Earnings Drop
ATLANTA (AP) _ Coca-Cola Co. said Wednesday its first-quarter earnings dropped 13 percent from a year ago, when it booked gains from the sale of bottling investments.
The company reported net income of $857 million, or 34 cents a share on a diluted basis, compared with $987 million, or 39 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.
In last year’s quarter, the soft drink giant recorded a gain of 8 cents a share after taxes from the sale of its stake in British bottling venture Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages.
The latest results were in line with analysts’ expectations, according to a survey by First Call Corp. Coca-Cola shares fell $1.12 1/2 to close at $76.68 3/4 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Coca-Cola said in the latest quarter it had a 14 percent increase in worldwide unit case volume _ a key industry indicator that is defined as sales of 24 eight-ounce servings.
Revenues were up 8 percent, to $4.46 billion from $4.14 billion in the first three months of 1997. The company said the growth reflected increased shipments and selective price increases, partly offset by the stronger U.S. dollar which cut into overseas profits.
``The momentum in our business remains strong in each of our operating groups throughout the world,″ said M. Douglas Ivester, chairman and chief executive.
Coca-Cola holds its annual shareholders meeting Wednesday in Wilmington, Del.