NEW YORK: While the pandemic recovery remains uneven, Coca-Cola said on Wednesday (Oct 27) it expects improved earnings for the year as soft drink consumption improves worldwide, aided by reopening businesses.

The iconic soda brand saw “away-from-home” outlets like restaurants and entertainment venues collapse as COVID-19 spread, but sales rebounded in the latest three months.

That was “driven by ongoing recovery in markets where coronavirus-related uncertainty is abating,” according to the earnings report.

“We are updating our full-year guidance to reflect another quarter of momentum in the business,” Coca-Cola chief James Quincey said in a statement.

He cautioned that “the recovery continues to be asynchronous,” but added that the company’s “strong system alignment and networked organisation are helping us unlock enormous potential in our brands and across our markets.”

The company now expects full year revenue to jump 13 per cent to 14 per cent, and earnings per share increasing 15 per cent to 17 per cent.

The company’s profit in the quarter ended Oct 1 rose to just under US$2.5 billion from US$1.7 billion in the comparable three months of 2020, a 42 per cent rebound.

Sales were led primarily by developing and emerging markets notably India, Russia and Brazil, “driven by ongoing recovery in markets where coronavirus-related uncertainty is abating,” the company said.

The trademark Coke brand saw a five percent increase in sales, slightly less than the increase in sports drinks and coffee, while nutrition, juice, dairy and plant-based beverages grew 12 per cent.

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