Coca-Cola’s third-quarter profits were down 28 percent, the Atlanta company said Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola.

Coke profits, revenue slide in third quarter

Coca-Cola’s third-quarter profit dropped 28 percent as re-tooling efforts, currency headwinds and weak demand in some markets caused revenue to fall for the sixth quarter in a row compared to a year earlier.

Coke said Wednesday that revenue slid 7 percent in the quarter, to $10.6 billion, while net income fell to just over $1 billion, from more than $1.4 billion in the same period of 2015.

The Atlanta soft drink giant said some of the sales slippage was due to a stronger dollar, which made overseas revenue look smaller when translated back into dollars.

But the results also flagged due to weaker product sales in several emerging markets.

Revenue also fell due to ongoing efforts to sell its North American bottling operations to individual franchises, a legacy of its 2010 acquisition of the unit from Coca-Cola Enterprises.

Coca-Cola announced it had struck six deals to sell bottling businesses in North America and completed transactions on four more. As Coke has shed those businesses, their revenue and profits are no longer reported as part of its operations.

“Our actions are starting to bear fruit, but we have more work to do,” said Coca-Cola President James Quincey.

Coca-Cola said revenue in North America increased 3 percent over the year-earlier quarter, to almost $2.7 billion, while the volume of beverages sold increased 1 percent.

Executives said Coke is trimming prices and tweaking products in China and other markets where the local economy has weakened customer demand.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is also rolling out new non-carbonated drinks and reformulating some of its traditional fizzy drinks to cut or eliminate sugar.

Coke’s carbonated drinks, which account for about 70 percent of global revenue, have been under pressure for several years in North America, Europe and other core markets due to concerns that sugary drinks are worsening obesity and other health issues.

In Great Britain, the company cut sugar 30 percent in its Sprite and Fanta drinks, for instance, by substituting the low-calorie sweetener stevia, Quincey said.

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