The Company Warren Buffett Says Can't Be Beat

"If you gave me $100 billion and said take away the soft drink leadership of Coca-Cola [ (NYSE: KO  ) ] in the world, I'd give it back to you and say it can't be done." -- Warren Buffett

When one of the greatest investors of all time says he can't keep a company from dominating the market, we Fools sit up and take notice. Why? Because when a company is so strong that even the legendary Warren Buffett can't beat it, it's probably a Rule Maker. These mighty companies have at least one competitive advantage that can't be defeated, and they usually make great long-term investments.

Heaven in a can
When you think of soda, what comes to mind? For the majority, Coke is the immediate response. Yes, you could also name Dr. Pepper or Pepsi from Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS  ) or PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) , but Coke is the most well-known and well-loved soda brand.

With a 125-year-old soda recipe that billions love, a strong presence across the globe, a market share of 42% in carbonated soft drinks, and Coke and Diet Coke taking the No. 1 and No. 2 positions for most popular soda, you're looking at an unbeatable company.

Coke shows its dominance at a discount
Not only is Coke an exceptionally strong company, but it's also currently cheap on a trailing basis, although a one-time gain last year makes those numbers look lower than they otherwise would be. Check out the company compared to peers in the table below.

Company

P/E

Dividend Yield

Coca-Cola 12.9 2.8%
PepsiCo 18.9 2.9%
Dr. Pepper Snapple 17.5 3.1%
Cott (NYSE: COT  ) 15.5 N/A
National Beverage (Nasdaq: FIZZ  ) 16.5 N/A
Hansen Natural (Nasdaq: HANS  ) 28.7 N/A

Moreover, Coke pays a dividend yield of 2.8%.

Keeps getting better
Besides a strong market share and a dominant brand, Coke has seen great sales and dividend growth over the past year, which shows that even though it's a giant in its industry, it still has room to grow. Let's take a look at Coke's sales and dividends per share growth over the past three years.

Coke

Sales (billions)

Sales Growth

Dividends Per Share

Dividend Growth

2010

$35.1

13.3%

$1.76

7.3%

2009

$31.0

-3%

$1.64

7.9%

2008

$31.9

10.7%

$1.52

11.8%

So what does all this mean? Well, right now, Coke is no more expensive than other soda companies, and it's paying an above-standard dividend yield. Add to that strong sales and a growing dividend, and Coke's future definitely looks investor-friendly.

So there you have it
Coke is iconic. There is no way around it. It's been around for more than a century, and as long as there's a market for soda, Coke will likely thrive in the next hundred years, too, making it a possible great addition to any Fool's portfolio.

Want to keep up with Coke? Click Coca-Cola to add it to your watchlist!

Fool contributor Katie Spence doesn't like to drink soda, but she loves owning shares of Coca-Cola. She doesn't own share of any other company named above.

The Motley Fool owns shares of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in PepsiCo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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