The Economy

CFO Adds Cautious Note to Coke’s Optimism

Coca-Cola has seen “significant volatility around commodities and currencies across the world over the last several years,” its finance chief says.
Marielle SegarraApril 17, 2012

Even as Coca-Cola was reporting an 8% boost in net income this quarter, its CFO, Gary P. Fayard, injected a note of caution into the company’s optimism at its earnings call Tuesday.

“We have seen — if you think back, actually first quarter of 2010, things looked like, economically, they were getting better and then they didn’t,” Fayard said. The same thing happened at the beginning of last year, he added.

The company has seen “significant volatility around commodities and currencies across the world over the last several years as well,” Fayard said. “I guess where we are is trying to be somewhat conservative.”

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With a net profit of 89 cents per share, Coke bested year-ago figures by 7 cents. It also surpassed estimates by Thomson Reuters analysts of 87 cents per share on revenue of $10.82 billion.

Coke just opened its largest-ever Chinese factory and will continue to pursue growth in the country under a $4 billion investment program. It is also eyeing growth across Asia in such countries as Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

The company is also hoping to get a lift from this year’s London Summer Olympics, and it is using social media as fuel. “This fully integrated 2012 global Olympic marketing program will be all about recruiting teams by tapping into emotional passion points like sports and music,” said Muhtar Kent, the company’s chief executive.

Kent noted that the video of the new Coke Olympic theme song has been viewed several hundred thousand times. “These views were generated without any active promotions on our part, and once again, are a clear example of how we are successfully engaging consumers with innovative, compelling, and shareable social-media content,” said Kent.