NEW YORK CITY: Coca-Cola announced a jump in fourth-quarter profits Tuesday on higher volumes and prices and said it would fully refranchise bottling operations in North America and China in a cost-cutting move.
Net income for the 2015 fourth quarter was $1.2 billion, up 60.6 percent compared with the year-ago period. Revenues fell 8 percent to $10 billion.
Coca-Cola’s global volume grew 3 percent in the quarter, driven especially by gains in still products such as bottled water, juice and sports drinks. Volumes for still products jumped 6 percent globally, as well as in the key North American market.
Volumes in sparkling beverages grew 2 percent, with Coke soda gaining 1 percent and Coke Zero 7 percent, partially offset by a 5 percent drop in Diet Coke volumes.
Earnings were also boosted by a 9.2 percent drop in expenses to $3.9 billion and a 2 percent increase in pricing; those improvements helped to offset the negative effects of the strong dollar.
For the year, Coca-Cola reported net income of $7.3 billion, up 3.6 percent from the year-ago period. Revenues dropped 3.7 percent to $44.3 billion.
Coca-Cola said it has reached agreements to sell bottler facilities accounting for more than
40 percent of its volume in the United States. It plans to refranchise the entire North American region by the end of 2017.
Coca-Cola also has entered into a preliminary agreement to refranchise its company-owned bottling operations in China to its partners China Foods Limited and Swire Beverage Holdings Ltd.
“The acceleration of our global refranchising marks a step change in our efforts to refocus the Coca-Cola Company on its core business of building strong, valuable brands and leading a system of strong bottling partners,” said chief executive Muhtar Kent.