Coca-Cola's global sales beat expectations in the first quarter as the soft drinks maker said it saw early — but uneven — signs of recovery in demand, particularly in areas with stronger rates of vaccination against Covid-19.
The company also said it plans to sell a portion of the Coca-Cola Beverages Africa bottling business via an initial public offering.
Coke’s organic revenue, which excludes the impact of currency or acquisitions, climbed 6% in the quarter ended April 2, topping the estimates for growth by analysts.
The results hint at a potential rebound as consumers worldwide emerge from more than a year of isolation, a process that is happening at different rates in different countries.
The company is “encouraged by improvements in our business, especially in markets where vaccine availability is increasing and economies are opening up,” chief executive James Quincey.
Recovery remains uneven, with North America and Europe falling behind as unit case volumes climbed 9% in Asia Pacific. Globally, case unit volume was flat.
Coke is grappling with the commodity inflation pressures that are affecting other manufacturers, chief financial officer John Murphy said.
Most relevant to Coca-Cola are higher costs in plastic and aluminium, including can-supply challenges in the US, he said.