The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, reported another quarter of strong growth, along with achieving or exceeding all guidance for the full year 2019. The company continued to execute its growth strategy, allowing it to deliver strong revenue and profit growth for the quarter and full year while gaining value share globally, it says.
"We made good progress in 2019 by delivering on our financial commitments and growing in a more sustainable way," said James Quincey, chairman and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Co., in a statement. "We continue to transform the organization to act with a growth mindset, which gives us confidence in our 2020 targets and our ability to create a better shared future for all of our stakeholders."
For the quarter, net revenues grew 16 percent to $9.1 billion. For the year, net revenue increased 9 percent to $37.3 billion for the year. Organic revenues (non-GAAP) grew 7 percent for the quarter and 6 percent for the year. Revenue growth for the quarter was driven by concentrate sales growth of 2 percent and price/mix growth of 5 percent. The quarter included one additional day, which resulted in an approximate 1-point benefit to revenue growth, it says. Revenue growth for the year was driven by concentrate sales growth of 1 percent and price/mix growth of 5 percent.
In 2019, the company continued to grow its total portfolio, which led to the largest value share gains in almost a decade, with contribution from both sparkling and non-sparkling offerings. In sparkling, trademark Coca-Cola grew 6 percent retail value globally as it continued to scale innovative offerings such as Coca-Cola Plus Coffee, now available in more than 40 markets. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar continued to expand its footprint, achieving another year of double-digit volume growth. In the non-sparkling portfolio, innocent, one of the company's juice and smoothie brands, continued to perform well led by innovative products such as innocent plus, a premium juice offering with added vitamins. The innocent brand scaled beyond its flagship market of Europe, launching in Japan during 2019 with more expansion planned in 2020.
The company also continues to expand its portfolio and capabilities through strategic acquisitions of brands in on-trend categories. Most recently, the company acquired full ownership of the value-added dairy business, fairlife LLC. Value-added dairy products have been one of the fastest-growing categories in the United States, with fairlife being a large contributor to sales growth. fairlife’s continued success has been supported by new product innovations, ranging from lactose-free, ultra-filtered milk with less sugar and more protein than competing brands, to high-protein recovery and nutrition shakes and drinkable snacks. The brand has been supported by the reach of the U.S. Coca-Cola system, with products distributed through the Minute Maid distribution system and Coca-Cola bottlers across the country. The acquisition closed at the start of 2020.
Packaging remains an ongoing focus, and there were many examples of advances during the year. Bottles made from 100 percent recycled PET (rPET) were available in 12 markets. Coca-Cola Sweden announced it would be the first market in the world to transition to 100 percent rPET for all plastic bottles made in-country. The company’s investments included $19 million for a new bottle-to-bottle recycling facility in the Philippines. In the United States, the company teamed with partners and major competitors to launch the “Every Bottle Back” program during the fourth quarter. This includes a new $100 million industry fund that will be used to improve sorting, processing and collection in areas with the biggest infrastructure gaps to help increase the amount of recycled plastic available to be remade into beverage bottles.
In North America, unit case volume was even for the quarter across all category clusters, with the exception of water, enhanced water and sports drinks, which grew 3 percent, driven by strong growth in the sports drinks portfolio, in addition to premium water brands Topo Chico and smartwater. The company grew volume for trademark Coca-Cola through continued double-digit growth in Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. For the full year, the company gained value share in total NARTD beverages, in addition to all category clusters, with the exception of tea and coffee, where the company maintained share, it adds.