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Coca-Cola Tops Estimates On Demand For Sugar-Free Sodas

Coca-Cola Co reported quarterly sales and profit that beat Wall Street estimates on Tuesday, as more consumers reached for its sugar-free sodas, premium waters, and sports drinks.

Coke, like rival PepsiCo Inc, has been building up its portfolio of non-carbonated drinks and stepping up efforts to reduce sugar in its beverages as consumers seek healthier options.

The company paid $5.1 billion (€4.5 billion) for the world's second-largest coffee chain Costa earlier this year and took a stake in Kobe Bryant-backed sports drink BodyArmor in a bid to court a younger demographic that prefers sipping lattes to gulping big sodas.

No More Sugar

Organic revenue, or sales from its core beverage business, rose 6% in the third quarter, with Diet Coke, Coke Zero and sparkling water the top contributors.

Volumes, a key indicator of demand, grew 2% in the quarter on the strong performance of its trademark Coca-Cola brand and growth in the low- and no-calorie offerings of Sprite and Fanta, the company said.

Sales of sodas grew 2%.

Net income attributable to the company's shareholders rose to $1.88 billion (€1.65 billion), or 44 cents per share, in the third quarter ended 28 September from $1.45 billion (€1.27 billion), or 33 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Coca-Cola said it earned 58 cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate by 3 cents.

Revenue fell 9% to $8.25 billion (€7.27 billion), due to the disposal of its low-margin bottling operations.

Analysts had estimated sales of $8.17 billion (€7.20 billion), according to Refinitiv estimates.

The company's shares were up 1.4% in premarket trading.

News by Reuters, edited by Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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