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Coca-Cola strikes deal on distribution

Coca-Cola makes Sprite, Dasani, and Powerade.

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Coca-Cola makes Sprite, Dasani, and Powerade.

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Coca-Cola has struck preliminary deals to begin handing back more of its US distribution network to independent bottlers, a move that’s expected to improve profit margins. The news came minutes before the world’s biggest beverage maker reported first-quarter results, which topped expectations. It earned $1.75 billion, or 39 cents per share, compared with $2.1 billion, or 45 cents, a year ago. Excluding items, it earned 46 cents per share. Analysts expected 45 cents per share.

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