India ‘sparkling’ for Coca-Cola as beverages major reported big sales jump in 2018 Q1


Beverages major Coca-Cola is witnessing a strong growth momentum in India, especially in the sparkling drinks segment, with a positive start to the year.

The company, which released its global quarterly earnings on Tuesday, said that growth in India and China in the January-March period outpaced more developed markets such as Japan and Australia.

Talking about its performance in the Asia-Pacific region, Coca-Cola said, “Unit case volume growth of 5 per cent for the quarter was driven by strong performance in China and India, (which was) partially offset by a low single-digit decline in South-East Asia.”

Unit case volume means the number of unit cases (or unit case equivalents) of beverages directly or indirectly sold by the company and its bottling partners.

The US-based beverage major also said that the sparkling soft drink portfolio witnessed a double-digit volume growth in India.

The company witnessed a favourable product mix in the Asia-Pacific region “as sparkling soft drinks grew volume double digits in China and India,” it said in a statement.

James Quincey, President and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company, said: “We’re encouraged with our first quarter performance as we continue our evolution as a consumer-centric, total beverage company.” On an investor call, he said India and China helped accelerate the company’s topline growth. Coca-Cola India has been witnessing strong revenue and volume growth since the second half of 2017, after facing growth pangs for several quarters due to the challenging macro-economic conditions such as demonetisation, GST and lower rural demand.

Coca-Cola has been focussing on launching key innovations in recent times in the country.

The company, for instance, has been working on expanding the presence of its ethnic sparkling drink brand Rimzim across the country. It has also launched two new variants of Thums Up.

It is also expanding presence in the sparkling beverages with fruit juices category by adding juices to Sprite and Limca after Fanta.

Diet Coke drives Q1 sales

Reuters adds: Coca-Cola Co beat Wall Street estimates with quarterly results on Tuesday, citing more demand for Coke Zero Sugar and new flavours under its Diet Coke brand as overall revenue topped expectations by around $300 million.

The company said the launch of its popular low-calorie Diet Coke aimed at millennials helped the brand return to volume growth in the quarter.

Unit case volume rose 4 per cent for sparkling soft drinks and 5 per cent for its teas and coffees, Coca-Cola said in a statement.

Net profit rose to $1.37 billion in the first quarter ended March 30 from $1.18 billion a year earlier.

Revenue fell 16 per cent to $7.63 billion due to the divestment of its bottling operations.