Coca-Cola on Monday reported quarterly earnings that topped analysts’ expectations as consumers drank more of its namesake soda, Powerade and Costa coffee.
But CEO James Quincey told CNBC’s Sara Eisen that despite the strong quarter, there are “storm clouds” on the horizon. The company largely weathered inflationary challenges during the first quarter and maintained its outlook.
Shares of Coke rose 2% in premarket trading.
Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:
- Earnings per share: 64 cents adjusted vs. 58 cents expected
- Revenue: $10.5 billion vs. $9.83 billion expected
Coke reported first-quarter net income attributable to shareholders of $2.78 billion, or 64 cents per share, up from $2.25 billion, or 52 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the beverage giant earned 64 cents per share, beating the 58 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.
Net sales rose 16% to $10.5 billion, topping Wall Street’s expectations of $9.83 billion. Organic revenue, which strips out the impact of acquisitions and divestitures, climbed 18% in the quarter.
Pricing and mix, which includes price increases across its portfolio, grew 7% in the quarter, helped by strategies like bottling its drinks in smaller packaging. As inflation puts pressure on Coke’s profit margins and shoppers’ wallets, the company said it’s been expanding its lineup of single-serving offerings at “affordable” prices.
High demand and shopping trends pushed many food and drink companies to focus on bulk packaging, but smaller packaging has returned in recent months.
Quincey told CNBC that consumers won’t “swallow inflation endlessly.” The company is seeing higher costs for key materials like high fructose corn syrup, plastic and aluminum.
Quincey said on the company’s earnings conference call that Coke is trying to invest in its brands so consumers are willing to pay more for its beverages. He added that raising prices now is preferable to trying to hike them later during a recession, when consumers are more sensitive to price changes.
“We’re going to err towards taking the price increase,” Quincey said on the conference call.
Coke’s unit case volume rose 8% during the quarter. The company posted double-digit volume growth in both its nutrition, juice, dairy and plant-based beverages segment and its hydration, sports, coffee and tea segment. The company’s sparkling soft drink unit saw its volume increase 7%, fueled by demand for its namesake soda and its zero-sugar version.
In early March, Coke paused operations in Russia, citing the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. The company said Monday that the decision is expected to dent unit case volume by 1% and revenue and operating income by 1% to 2%. Coke also estimates that the decision will weaken its comparable earnings by 4 cents per share.
“We are keeping a close watch on the spillover effects of the conflict in Ukraine on the health of the consumer, and we remain ready to pivot and adapt,” Quincey told analysts on the company’s earnings call.
Despite the suspension of its Russian business, the company reiterated its full-year outlook of revenue growth of 7% to 8% and comparable earnings per share growth of 5% to 6%. For the second quarter, Coke is expecting a 4% headwind due to foreign currency.
Read the full earnings report here.