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Coca-Cola’s profit rises as it sells more drinks

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acokeNEW YORK – Coca-Cola says its profit rose in the third-quarter as the world’s biggest beverage maker managed to sell more of its drinks despite choppy economic conditions.

The maker of Sprite, Powerade and Vitaminwater said global sales volume edged up 2 percent, fueled by its performance in emerging markets such as China, India and Russia.

Although the Atlanta-based company is struggling to sell more of its namesake soda back at home, it has continued to boost sales by introducing smaller cans and bottles that better fit with people’s lifestyles, as well as focusing more heavily on other drinks, such as flavored water.

In North America, for instance, soda volume was flat for the period, following a 4 percent decline in the previous quarter and flat growth a year ago. But uncarbonated drinks such as tea, juice and bottled water, rose 5 percent. As a result, overall volume for the region rose 2 percent.

Meanwhile, soda sales are faring much better in developing markets; the company said its namesake brand saw volume growth of 22 percent in India. In China, soda volume rose 8 percent.

The company blamed volatile economic conditions for more disappointing results in other parts of the world. In Europe, volume fell 1 percent. Coca-Cola also cited hurricanes for a 2 percent volume in Mexico.

For the quarter, the company said it earned $2.45 billion, or 54 cents per share, up from $2.31 billion, or 50 cents per share, a year ago.

Not including one-time items, earnings per share were 53 cents, which was in line with Wall Street expectations.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $12.03, hurt by structural changes and unfavorable currency exchange rates. Analysts had expected $12.05 billion, according to FactSet.

The results for the quarter were boosted by a gain related to a bottling transaction in Brazil.

Shares of Coca-Cola Co. rose 1.6 percent at $38.51.

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