Coca-Cola earnings top estimates as cost cuts offset pandemic’s blow to sales


A delivery truck driver unloads Coca-Cola Co. soft drinks in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Coca-Cola is expected to announce its fourth-quarter earnings before the bell Wednesday.

Here’s what Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv are expecting:

  • Earnings per share: 42 cents expected
  • Revenue: $8.63 billion expected

The beverage giant has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Before the crisis, about half of its revenue depended on consumers buying drinks away from home. Its third-quarter revenue fell by 9%, and all four of its drink segments saw unit case volume shrink.

Another wave of European lockdowns during the winter has likely put additional pressure on Coke’s business, slowing down its recovery. CEO James Quincey told analysts in October that the company anticipated that winter in the Northern Hemisphere would be its toughest season.

In response to the pandemic, Coke has accelerated its restructuring and slimmed down its portfolio. It cut drinks like Tab and Odwalla that weren’t selling well and plans to lay off about 2,200 workers worldwide. But the transformation comes with its own costs. In total, Coke expects to spend $350 million to $550 million on severance costs. The company also reported a $160 million impairment charge during its third quarter tied to the Odwalla brand.

Shares of Coke have fallen 16% over the last year, dragging its market value down to $213.58 billion.

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