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Coca-Cola revenue tops estimates on robust demand, higher prices

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Coca-Cola surpassed Wall Street expectations for fourth-quarter revenue on Tuesday, as it benefits from higher product prices and buoyant demand for its juices, energy drinks and sodas.

Despite the company hiking prices over the last several quarters, consumers dining out and indulging in experiences like movies and sports have been willing to shell out more dollars on their favorite drinks and snacks.

This is in contrast to rival PepsiCo, which last week posted a decline in sales for the first time in 14 quarters as its price hikes led to a 4 per cent drop in volumes, reports Reuters.

But for Coca-Cola, unit case volumes rose 2 per cent and average selling prices increased 9 per cent in the fourth quarter. Still, the Sprite maker forecast weak growth in organic revenue on concerns that benefits from price hikes will soon begin to taper off.

The company expects fiscal 2024 organic revenue to grow between 6 per cent and 7 per cent, compared to the 12 per cent rise seen in 2023.

"In North America and Europe, while inflation is moderating, the cumulative impact of inflation is pressuring certain consumer segments who are seeking value," CEO James Quincey said in a post-earnings call.

Still, Wedbush analyst Gerald Pascarelli said its organic revenue forecast is better than expected and "really strong" compared to PepsiCo, which forecast a 4 per cent rise in organic revenue.

Coca-Cola sees annual adjusted profit to be between 4 per cent and 5 per cent, compared to LSEG estimates of a 4.5 per cent growth.

Its net revenue rose 7.4 per cent to $10.95 billion beating expectations of $10.68 billion while adjusted profit of 49 cents came in line with estimates.

"Coca-Cola's results were much better than PepsiCo's, as Coke continues to benefit from being able to pass on price increases," said Dave Wagner, portfolio manager at Aptus Capital Advisors, which holds shares in PepsiCo.

Shares of the maker of Fanta were up about 1 per cent in early trading.

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