3 Highlights From The Coca-Cola Company's Recent Earnings

Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) reported earnings before the opening bell on Tuesday. Here's what you need to know about the company's results.

Quarterly and full-year 2013 recap
The cola giant delivered earnings of $0.38 per share for the fourth quarter, which was below Wall Street expectations. Full-year 2013 EPS came in at $1.90, down 3%. Revenue fell 4% in the fourth quarter and 2% for the full-year 2013. Coke attributed part of the decline to currency headwinds. Global sales volume rose 1% for the quarter and 2% for the full year, signaling sluggish growth for the beverage giant. Coke shares traded down more than 3% Tuesday morning after the company issued its results.

Just last week, rival PepsiCo unveiled fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 results. Given the same currency headwinds, macroeconomic volatility, and trend of decreasing carbonated soft drink consumption, PepsiCo weathered thorough and displayed a more impressive quarter and year, attributed mostly to its strength in snacks. Snack food sales increased 3% year over year, while beverages grew 1%. 

Quest for worldwide diversification
Coca-Cola's geographic diversification prevents it from being too dependent on any one region for its revenues. For example, even though Eurasia and Africa experienced solid volume growth, consumption was flat in Latin America and down 1% in North America. When Coca-Cola experiences volume declines in some regions, it oftentimes simultaneously enjoys volume gains in other parts of the world.

Being one of the world's most diversified company's is one of Coke's biggest advantages, but it also comes with challenges. Just as in Q3, during the fourth quarter, the company was negatively affected by currency fluctuations. Yet, this is temporary and a dynamic that all global companies face. While Coke's brands have come to dominate many parts of the world, one big hurdle the cola giant faces going forward is that it must succeed in regional markets, too.

Changing strategies
Soda sales in the U.S. have been in decline for roughly a decade. More recently, Coke has seen diet soda sales under pressure. But Coke's noncarbonated beverages continue to see a boost. For the full-year 2013, the company gained global share in total ready-to-drink beverages as well as global volume and share in sparkling and still beverages. 

In order to jolt sales of its entire product lineup, Coca-Cola is exploring creative alternatives, namely its recent strategic partnership  with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. The companies have signed a decade-long agreement to develop and roll out Coke's global portfolio of products for use in Green Mountain's upcoming Keurig Cold at-home beverage system.

It's unclear if these machines will boost at-home consumption of Coke products, but the company is willing to take that chance. Coke feels this is an opportunity to grow overall soft drink, juice, and tea consumption, and the partnership serves as an example of management's readiness to think outside the bottle for creative ways to boost sales.

Foolish takeaway
Despite the disappointing fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 results, Coca-Cola still boasts plenty of attractive long-term growth opportunities. The recent partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters exemplifies that. For the patient investor, Coke remains an appealing company that holds a great deal of promise.

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