The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, released its full-year and fourth quarter 2013 results. Worldwide volume growth of 2 percent for the full year and 1 percent for the fourth quarter were reported.
Noting the impact of economic, political and environmental conditions across various regions and their effects on consumer spending and the overall nonalcohol ready-to-drink (NARTD) beverage industry performance during the year, The Coca-Cola Co. reported that it increased global value share in NARTD beverages, with volume and value share gains in core sparkling and still beverages for the year.
The company reported solid volume growth for the full year in certain developed markets, including Germany (up 2 percent), the northwest Europe and Nordics business unit (up 1 percent), and Japan (also up 1 percent). Its China and India businesses grew slower than in recent years amidst slowing economic environments but saw stronger performance in the second half of the year due to a focus on execution and normalized weather, the company said.
“2013 was marked by ongoing global macroeconomic challenges in many markets around the world,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Co., in a statement. “And while our business was not immune to these pressures leading to moderated global volume growth, we delivered sound financial results in line with our long-term profit targets and gained global value share in total nonalcoholic ready-to-drink beverages as well as global volume and value share in core sparkling and still beverages for the year.
“While we move forward in what remains an uncertain global economy, the long-term fundamentals driving our business and industry have not changed,” he continued. “A rising middle class, greater urbanization and increasing personal consumption expenditures in markets around the world will continue to drive greater demand for our beverages as consumers look for moments of refreshment. As we work to restore momentum in our business during 2014, we see many reasons to believe we can accelerate our growth and achieve our 2020 Vision. We are committed to accelerating marketing investments in our brands, further advancing our innovation strategies and maximizing productivity and reinvestment for growth. All of us at The Coca-Cola Co. remain resolute in our commitment to deliver results in line with our long-term growth model and 2020 Vision for sustainable value and success.”
Despite global volume growth below the company’s expectations and long-term growth target, it reported delivering sound financial results for the full year. Excluding the impact of structural changes, primarily the deconsolidation of certain company-owned bottling operations, the company delivered comparable currency neutral net revenue growth of 3 percent, capturing global price/mix of 1 percent. Also, excluding the impact of structural changes, it grew comparable currency neutral operating income 6 percent for 2013.
Worldwide sparkling beverage volume was up 1 percent for the year, led by brand Coca-Cola, and was even for the fourth quarter. Growth for the year was broad based across its sparkling portfolio, including Fanta and Sprite. The company also highlighted the launch of Coca-Cola Life, a naturally sweetened mid-calorie cola, in Argentina and Chile. Worldwide still beverage volume grew 5 percent for the full year and 6 percent for the fourth quarter, with growth across multiple beverage categories, including juices and juice drinks, ready-to-drink teas, packaged water, sports drinks and energy drinks.
For the North America market, volume and value share gained in NARTD beverages in the fourth quarter while its volume was down 1 percent. The overall NARTD industry in North America continued to be impacted by a challenging external environment, the company said. Although sparkling beverage volume declined 3 percent in the quarter, it outperformed the rest of the industry in both volume and value share as it leveraged its occasion-brand-price-package-channel (OBPPC) strategy to provide increased consumer choice along with preferred price points, the company added. Still beverage volume grew 4 percent in the quarter, with balanced growth and volume and value share gains across every still beverage category, making this the 15th consecutive quarter that the company’s still beverage portfolio has either maintained or gained both volume and value share. Powerade delivered high single-digit growth in the quarter, gaining both volume and value share, with growth coming from both the base business and the new Powerade Zero Drops.
The company’s Bottling Investments Group's (BIG) volume grew 7 percent in the quarter on a comparable basis, led by Germany, China and India, after adjusting for the net impact of structural changes, primarily the deconsolidation of the Philippine and Brazilian bottling operations in 2013. BIG volume, including the impact of structural changes, was down 29 percent in the quarter and down 17 percent for the full year.