Coca-Cola’s quarterly profits down 29% as Covid-19 continues to hit sales

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The resurgence of the coronavirus again weighed on Coca-Cola’s quarterly results released Wednesday as the beverage giant suffered an “incremental” sales hit in December and through early February due to rising Covid-19 cases in key markets

However, the company managed to report better-than-expected profits due to cost-cutting measures that included a restructuring that will trim 2,200 jobs worldwide.

Coca-Cola has also reduced spending on marketing during the pandemic, executives said.

Executives expressed optimism in a recovery once vaccines are widely distributed and offered a full-year forecast for the first time since the pandemic began.

Coca-Cola reported that fourth quarter profits fell 29 per cent to $1.4 billion (£1.01bn) on a five per cent decline in revenues to $8.6 bn.

The company projected full-year revenue growth of “high single digits” in 2021, excluding foreign exchange and acquisition effects.

The forecast was built on Coca-Cola’s analysis of how long the pandemic would last in each country and then how long it would take each country to return to 2019 levels of economic growth, executives said.

Coca-Cola is anticipating “some level of asynchronous recovery depending both on vaccine distribution and other macroeconomic factors,” said Chief Executive James Quincey on a conference call with analysts.