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Coca-Cola back on Track?

After a difficult few years of trading, the soft-drinks giant Coca-Cola seems to have put some sparkle back into its performance. First-quarter net profits for the company rose by 10%, as non-carbonates rose 11% by volume, which was nearly four times the rate of fizzy drinks.

Neville Isdell, the company chief executive who was pulled out of retirement in 2004 in a bid to raise Coca-Cola’s flagging fortunes, announced the encouraging  results at the annual shareholder meeting. “We are well on the way to being the company you expect us to be,” he said.

Net earnings for the soft-drinks company were $1.11 billion, up from $1bn for the same period last year. Profits were $1.16bn although revenues remained flat, which was a reflection of negative currency movements that offset increased sales volume.

Commentators have pointed out that Coca-Cola has been slower than its rival Pepsi to pick up on recent healthier lifestlye consumer trends. However the company has successfully gained ground in several markets by expanding its range of non-carbonate drinks brands, such as Dasani water.  db May 2006

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