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Feb 17, 2018 @ 15:46

Coca-Cola reports 4Q loss on hit from US tax reform

Coca-Cola reported a fourth-quarter loss Friday due to a one-time hit from US tax reform as growth in some non-cola beverages helped offset continued sluggishness in soda sales.

The soft drink giant reported a loss of $2.8 billion in the quarter ending December 31, compared with a $550 million profit in the year-ago period.

The loss stemmed from a net $3.6 billion in one-time costs associated with US tax reform. Numerous other large companies have reported one-time impacts to earnings in recent weeks after Washington enacted the monumental shift.

Revenues in the fourth quarter fell 20 percent to $7.5 billion, due in part to the selling of bottling assets to franchisers.

Fizzy drink volumes were flat in the quarter and down one percent for all of 2017. Soda sales have languished in recent years due to shifting consumer taste amid health concerns connected to sugar and sugar substitutes.

Coca-Cola has tried to spice up its carbonated portfolio by revamping its Coke Zero product last year and introducing new flavors and packaging for Diet Coke.

“I am pleased with our accomplishments and results in 2017,” said Coca-Cola chief executive James Quincey, who said the company is on track to “transform into a total beverage company.”

“While there is still much work to do, I am encouraged by our momentum as we head into 2018,” Quincey said.

The soda giant forecast 2018 per-share operating profit growth of eight to 10 percent, better than the five percent growth expected by analysts.

Shares rose 1.6 percent to $45.50 in pre-market trading.

( Agence France-Presse )


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