Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) today reported worldwide volume growth of 4% for the first quarter, with 3% growth in Coca-Cola Americas and 5% growth in Coca-Cola International. During the quarter, the company grew global value share in nonalcoholic ready-to-drink (NARTD) beverages for the 23rd consecutive quarter and once again grew both volume and value share in global core sparkling beverages. 

The company’s global sparkling portfolio grew 3%, led by brand Coca-Cola growth of 3%, while Fanta grew 6% and Sprite grew 5%. The company reported solid volume growth in key developed markets, including Germany (+3%), North America (+1%) and Japan (+1%), in addition to strong volume growth in key emerging markets, including Thailand (+18%), India (+8%), Russia (+8%), Mexico (+3%) and Brazil (+3%). 

Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent said, “I am pleased with our first quarter performance results, having once again delivered solid growth against the backdrop of a still uncertain global economy. Guided by our 2020 Vision, our roadmap for winning together with our global system bottling partners, we enter 2013 and the fourth year of our journey to 2020 focused and on track to reach our goals.”

The full press release, including more facts and figures about our first quarter results, can be found online here.

Check back later today for more updates from our quarterly call with investors. In the meantime, you can listen live beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET here on Coca-Cola Journey.

Q1 Earnings Afternoon Update:

Following the release of our earnings press release this morning, our Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent and CFO Gary Fayard conducted a call with financial analysts.  Below are some highlights of what was said.  If you missed listening to the webcast discussing today’s earnings, you can listen to a replay at the link below.  We’ll also have a transcript of the call available at the same link shortly.

Muhtar Kent on overall results:

“In the first quarter of 2013 we grew worldwide volume by 4%, cycling 5% growth, and once again captured global nonalcoholic ready-to-drink beverage value share with volume and value share gains in core sparkling.

            Our global sparkling portfolio grew 3%, led by brand Coca-Cola growth of 3%, while Fanta grew 6% and Sprite grew 5%. Sparkling brands contributed nearly two-thirds of our global volume growth.

            Worldwide still beverage volume grew 6% in the quarter, with volume growth across most still beverage categories, including ready-to-drink tea, juices and juice drinks, and packaged water. These gains enabled us to capture global still beverage volume and value share.

            And, immediate consumption volume grew 3% globally with growth across sparkling and still beverages.

            As announced during our 2012 year-end earnings call, we implemented a new organizational structure effective January 1st of this year that includes Coca-Cola Americas which began 2013 by growing volume 3% and Coca-Cola International which grew volume 5%.”

Gary Fayard, Chief Financial Officer on financial results:

“Our comparable earnings per share were $0.46, up 5% versus the prior year quarter despite currency headwinds of approximately 4%.

            Our comparable currency neutral operating income was up 5% despite the impact of two fewer selling days, and the impact of certain structural items. Currency was a 3% headwind on comparable operating income.     

            Comparable currency neutral net revenues grew 1%, and grew 2% after adjusting for the impact of structural items.

            After adjusting for the effect of two fewer selling days in the quarter, unit case sales were in line with concentrate sales.

Price/mix for the quarter was even, cycling 3% in the prior year quarter. And remember, in the second quarter we will also be cycling 3% price/mix. However, as stated in our last earnings call, we do expect to earn low single-digit consolidated price/mix for 2013, consistent with our long-term growth model. We continue executing our occasion-based brand, price, package and channel strategies with precision around the world.”

Muhtar Kent on US franchise system:

“As announced earlier today, we are taking a significant step toward our 2020 Vision by commencing the implementation of a 21st century beverage partnership model in the United States.

            The franchise system has always been the strength of the Coca-Cola business globally, and today we are accelerating the transformation of our U.S. system in ways that will establish a clear path to help us achieve our 2020 Vision.

            In the coming months we will be collaborating with five of our bottling partners to implement the plan which will include the granting of exclusive territory rights and the sale of distribution assets and cold-drink equipment. In the near term, production assets will remain with Coca-Cola Refreshments as part of a finished goods model, in anticipation of a future national product supply system.

            These actions are being taken ahead of our previously stated timeline. The result will be further progress toward a more agile, modern, customer-focused franchise business model unique to the U.S.

            We remain confident that we have the right strategies for North America and we are optimistic about the outlook for this important market despite the challenging competitive environment and macroeconomic backdrop.

            As today’s results indicate, The Coca-Cola Company’s brand marketing, commercial execution, and category leadership efforts are all working together to enable us to sustainably win at the point of sale.” 

Check back on our investors page for the transcript and audio file of the webcast.

Petro Kacur is Media Relations Director at The Coca-Cola Company.