The international manufacturer, distributor, and seller of beverages got a shot in the arm in its fiscal second quarter. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) reported revenue that bounced back well from the decrease caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the same quarter last year.
In fact, the surge in sales was strong enough to eclipse its Q2 2019 revenue total too. Fueling this rebound were reopening economies and consumer mobility. Coca-Cola has a large presence in the away-from-home beverage market, so when folks are able to be out and about, it's a good sign for the beverage maker's revenue and profits.
Coca-Cola beat estimates and raised guidance for 2021
Quotes from CEO James Quincey in the company's press release on earnings gave the impression he was quite upbeat about the second-quarter results. He had plenty of reason to be, as Coca-Cola's quarterly revenue increased by 42% year over year. Admittedly, this was in comparison to a down quarter last year. Still, it's a big jump for a company that has posted annual revenue growth in only three of the past 10 fiscal years.
Here's what Quincey had to say on the drivers of the rebound in the company's conference call:
Mobility in business levels improved in the first quarter, and this trend continued in the second. Consumer mobility increased in markets where vaccination rates are reaching meaningful levels, and our business has recovered as we lap last year's biggest lockdown impacts and see our strategies in motion.
Management was confident enough in the durability of the sales rebound that it raised revenue and earnings-per-share (EPS) guidance for the rest of 2021. Previously, management guided investors to look for revenue growth in the high single-digit percentages and earnings-per-share growth in the high single digits to low double-digit percentages.
The company updated that guidance based on its positive Q2 results. Now, management is guiding investors to look for annual revenue growth of 12% to 14% and EPS growth of 13% to 15%. If Coca-Cola achieves the annual revenue growth it is targeting, it would be the company's largest annual increase dating back to 2011 (when it was recovering from the 2007-2009 Great Recession).
What this could mean for investors
Investors liked what they saw from Coca-Cola, and the stock price was up roughly 1% following the report. Still, the share price is only up about 4% year to date despite developments favoring its revenue and profits. Nearly 4 billion doses of vaccines against COVID-19 have been administered worldwide, and the pace of vaccination is accelerating. That has allowed many parts of the world to come out of lockdown and reduce restrictions on in-person social interactions.
Investors looking for a stock that will benefit from economic reopening and one that has not experienced a significant price gain in 2021 should add Coca-Cola to their list. However, keep in mind that the pandemic is far from over, and the spread of the delta variant is threatening to derail progress being made on economic reopenings. The world is not in the clear just yet, but as more of the population gets vaccinated, Coca-Cola could benefit from increased consumer mobility.