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Tue 30 Oct 2018 03:50 PM

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Middle East sales help boost Q3 profits of Coca-Cola

US-based soda giant notches profits of $1.9bn in the third quarter, up 30% from the year-ago period

Middle East sales help boost Q3 profits of Coca-Cola
Revenues in divisions outside North America ranged from a drop of three percent in Latin America to a gain of one percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Coca-Cola reported a jump in third-quarter profits behind higher sales in North America as it boosts investment in non-carbonated beverages.

The soda giant notched profits of $1.9 billion, up 30 percent from the year-ago period.

Revenues fell 9.2 percent to $8.2 billion.

Sales surged 12 percent in North America, with Coca-Cola pointing to pricing increases, especially in sparkling soft drinks, offset somewhat by higher shipping costs.

Especially strong brands included the diet soda Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, as well as Sprite, premium waters and the smartwater line, the company said.

Revenues in divisions outside North America ranged from a drop of three percent in Latin America to a gain of one percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Two countries with weakness were South Africa and the Philippines, both of which have enacted excise tax increases on sugary drinks. Some US cities have also targeted sugary drinks with taxes in an effort to address obesity and other health concerns.

James Quincey, who became chief executive in May 2017, tapped Brian Smith as chief operating officer and president earlier this month to oversee operations, while Quincey focuses on strategy.

"We continue to be encouraged by our performance year-to-date as we accelerate our evolution as an even more consumer-centric, total beverage company," Quincey said.

"The recent leadership appointments are intended to help accelerate the transformation of our company."

Coca-Cola has in recent months announced new investments in coffee and sports drinks and has said it is exploring drinks with cannabidiol, an ingredient in cannabis that is distinct from THC, the major active ingredient that causes the "high."

Shares edged up 0.1 percent to $46.50 in pre-market trading.

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