ATLANTA -- Coca-Cola
welcomed shareowners to its annual meeting
today to reflect on a challenging but rewarding 2013 and outline reasons to
believe in the company’s prospects in 2014 and beyond.
Here are 10 key points Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent made during his opening keynote:
1. A Year of Firsts
The Coca-Cola system set several records in 2013. Global volume was up 2 percent to 28.2 billion unit cases, translating into a record 1.9 billion beverage servings each day. Coke bottling partners around the world now serve a record 24 million customers each week.
2. Coca-Cola is Growing
The company’s flagship brand posted record volume of nearly 11 billion unit cases in 2013, adding nearly 100 million cases. Coke is a billion-dollar brand in 19 countries, including developed markets like Great Britain, Japan and Mexico, and developing markets like South Africa, Brazil, Turkey, Argentina and Colombia.
3. Gaining Share and Sales
Coca-Cola picked up global market share in total nonalcoholic ready-to-drink (NARTD) beverages, boosted purchase transactions and achieved sound profit results in line with its long-term growth targets.
4. 17 and Counting
Each of Coke’s 17 billion-dollar brands generates more than $1 billion of retail sales annually. “And we have a strong pipeline of future megabrands, with 20 other brands generating over $500 million dollars in annual retail sales,” Kent added. Coke plans to invest an incremental $1 billion in marketing by 2016 to fuel brand love across 200-plus markets.
5. A Coke for Every Lifestyle and Occasion
Caffeine-Free Coke Zero launched in the U.S. in 2013, and Coca-Cola Life, a lower-calorie Coke naturally sweetened with sugar and stevia, debuted in Argentina and Chile. Additional markets will introduce the innovative product in 2014.
6. Stills on the Rise
The company’s still beverage portfolio was up 5 percent in 2013. Ready-to-drink tea was a standout, up 11 percent, and juices and juice drinks grew by 5 percent.
7. An Aligned Bottling System
Coca-Cola sold 51 percent of its Philippines bottling operation in 2013 to Coca-Cola FEMSA and helped consolidate bottling partners in parts of Brazil, the Iberian Peninsula and the greater Tokyo region. In the U.S., the company granted expanded territories to five existing bottling partners, and just months ago granted territories in Chicago and Florida to two new experienced bottling partners.
8. Returning Value to Shareowners
In 2013, the company generated $10.5 billion in cash from operations, returning $8.5 billion in value to shareowners through dividends and net share repurchases. In early 2014, the company raised its dividend by 9 percent -- its 52nd consecutive annual dividend increase.
9. Doing Well By Doing Good
Coke is focused on making a positive difference in communities
around the world through a three-pronged sustainability agenda focused on empowering
women through its 5by20 program and other initiatives; replacing every liter of water
used to manufacture its beverages through reduction, recycling and
replenishment projects by 2020; and promoting well-being through four global commitments
focused on increasing the availability of low- and no-calorie beverage options,
responsible marketing, transparent labeling and supporting
active healthy living programs worldwide. Watch Kent explain why these initiatives "benefit the business and the planet."
10. A Growth Business in a Growth Industry
The retail value of the NARTD beverage industry, which has grown by $135 billion since 2010, is expected to grow by another $300 billion by 2020. “We are well positioned in every country to capture more than our fair share of this growth,” Kent said.
During the business portion of the meeting, shareowners voted to approve four management proposals: the election of 15 directors to one-year terms; the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the company’s independent auditors for this fiscal year; an annual advisory vote to approve executive compensation; and the company’s 2014 performance-based equity plan. A shareowner proposal of separating the roles of chairman and CEO did not pass.
Maria Elena Lagomasino, a member of Coke’s Board of Directors and chair of the compensation committee, spoke at the meeting about the equity plan proposal. Read her statement.