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Coke says profit up as soda sales slip

Shares of Coca-Cola closed down $1.05, or 2.72 percent, at $37.56.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/file 2008

Shares of Coca-Cola closed down $1.05, or 2.72 percent, at $37.56.

NEW YORK — Coca-Cola is facing a tough time: People are drinking less soda in the United States and Europe, and uncertain economic conditions around the world are weighing on the world’s biggest beverage maker.

The Atlanta-based company said Tuesday that its profit rose in the fourth quarter, as it benefited from growth in emerging markets and a shift in the calendar that resulted in two extra selling days for the period. But sales volume fell in China and Europe, reflecting a pullback in consumer spending.

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In North America, its biggest market by revenue, volume rose just 1 percent, boosted by its sports drinks and teas. The company sold 2 percent less soda.

For the October-to-December period, the Coca-Cola Co. earned $1.87 billion, or 41 cents per share. That’s compared with $1.66 billion, or 36 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Not including one-time items, the company said it earned 45 cents per share. Revenue rose 4 percent to $11.46 billion.

Analysts on average expected an adjusted profit of 44 cents per share on revenue of $11.53 billion.

For the full year, net income was $9.02 billion, or $1.97 per share, up from $8.58 billion, or $1.85 per share, in the year-ago period.

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