Coke improves Q4 earnings per share by 79 percent

ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Co. Wednesday reported that fourth-quarter earnings increased 79 percent compared with the prior year on a reported basis.

The company reported a per share increase of 52 cents, and 58 cents after considering items impacting comparability, an increase of 12 percent.

Earnings per share for the quarter included a net charge of 6 cents per share primarily related to restructuring charges and asset write-downs. Earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 2006 were 29 cents and included a net charge of 23 cents per share primarily related to a non-cash impairment charge at Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. an equity investee.

Earnings per share for the year were $2.57, an increase of 19 percent compared with the prior year on a reported basis, and $2.70 after considering items impacting comparability, an increase of 14 percent. Earnings per share for the year included a net charge of 13 cents per share primarily related to restructuring charges and asset write-downs. Full year 2006 earnings per share were $2.16 and included a net charge of 21 cents per share primarily related to a non-cash impairment charge at CCE.

“This has been a year of significant accomplishment,” said Neville Isdell, Coca-Cola chairman and chief executive officer. “We have delivered strong business results and increased value to our shareowners by expanding our consumer appeal across our beverage brands and connecting in very meaningful ways with the communities we serve. By successfully executing our clearly defined strategies with our bottling partners, we delivered 6 percent unit case volume growth for the year and four consecutive quarters of double-digit earnings per share growth.

“Importantly, this growth was balanced across our geographies and portfolio of brands. On a worldwide basis, sparkling beverage volume increased a solid 4 percent, and still beverages increased 12 percent. We remain focused on driving sustainable long-term growth and value for our shareowners, while delivering against our stakeholder needs each day. With our strategies in place, our expanded brand portfolio and our geographic balance, we are well prepared to respond to opportunities and challenges ahead and anticipate another good year in 2008.”

President and chief operating officer Muhtar Kent added, “Clearly, our strategies are right and our execution is working, as 2007 was a successful year for The Coca-Cola Co. As evident from our results, we consistently delivered on our promise of executing against our growth agenda. Our international business, led by the emerging markets, continues to drive our overall growth, while stabilizing key markets like Japan , the Philippines and North America underscores our ability to re-energize major markets.”

“I am pleased with the progress we made against our 2007 priorities,” Kent said. “We are now better positioned to capture the significant growth opportunities. As we look to 2008, the foundation is in place to deliver another successful year of balanced geographic and brand growth for The Coca-Cola Co” 

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