Coca-Cola reports 5 percent increase in third-quarter earnings
ATLANTA (AP) _ Coca-Cola Co.’s board of directors decided Thursday to take no action concerning the status of Roberto C. Goizueta, the company’s seriously ill chairman and chief executive officer.
``In light of the board’s full confidence in the management team of the company and in deference to Mr. Goizueta and his family, the board took no formal action and considered no formal proposals,″ the company said in a statement. ``However, the board will be prepared to meet and take appropriate action as circumstances warrant.″
Goizueta, 65, remained hospitalized in critical condition with a throat infection related to treatment for lung cancer. It was the first board meeting he was unable to attend since becoming chairman in 1981.
Earlier Thursday, the company reported a 5 percent increase in earnings for the third quarter, crediting strong international sales growth. The board of directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of 14 cents per common share.
The nation’s biggest soft drink company earned $1.01 billion, or 41 cents per share, for the July-September period, compared with $967 million, or 39 cents per share, in the same quarter of 1996.
The results matched Wall Street expectations, but Coca-Cola’s shares fell 87 1/2 cents to close at $58.93 3/4 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Net operating revenues were $4.95 billion, up 6 percent from $4.69 billion in the third quarter last year.
For the first nine months, Coca-Cola’s net income was $3.31 billion or $1.34 per share, up 21 percent from $2.73 billion or $1.09 per share a year earlier. Revenues for the nine-month period held steady at $14.2 billion.
Unit case volume, a key indicator that is defined as sales of 24 eight-ounce servings, increased 11 percent for the third quarter, the company said. Strong sales growth in international markets _ 14 percent in Latin America, 16 percent in Europe, 13 percent in Africa and 10 percent in the Middle East and Far East _ helped make up for a growth of only 6 percent in U.S. markets.