International beverage giant The Coca-Cola Company (KO) announced its fourth-quarter 2018 earnings on Feb. 14, before the opening bell. Net operating revenues slipped 6% to $7.06 billion for the quarter, while Coca-Cola turned to profit recording $870 million or $0.20 per share in attributable net income vs. a loss of $2.75 billion or $0.65 a year ago.
However, investors look to have expected more from the 2019 outlook, as the stock slid in pre-market trade on Thursday shortly after the announcement.
Net income from continuing operations was $792 million or $0.18 per diluted share, compared to the loss of $2.82 billion or $0.66 a share a year ago. Non-GAAP diluted net income per share from continuing operations was $0.43 per share in the fourth quarter.
In the previously reported six continuous quarters, the Pepsi rival has beaten market estimates. Moreover, it also beat the sales consensus in the last five quarters. The Street expected Coca-Cola to generate $7.05 billion in sales and make $0.43 cents per share (non-GAAP) this time. The results were more or less in line with the consensus.
Despite various setbacks, Coca-Cola expects to save $3.8 billion by 2019, with aid from productivity programs, according to older announcements. The soda giant is also employing a strategy to use its brands more effectively on a global scenario. This seemed to have bolstered investor sentiment, with the stock gaining more than 14% in the last year, while the entire industry has slipped over 5%.
LOOKING TO 2019
For fiscal 2019, Coca Cola sees about 4% growth in non-GAAP revenue. The beverage giant also expects Non-GAAP comparable currency neutral operating income to grow 10% to 11%, despite a tiny tailwind from acquisitions, divestitures and structural items.
Full-year underlying effective tax rate (non-GAAP) is estimated to be 19.5%, while cash from operations is touted at a minimum of $8.0 billion. Capital expenditures of about $2 billion are expected excluding discontinued operations in the year. Non-GAAP comparable EPS from continuing operations is expected to between a 1% fall or 1% growth for the year.
Rival PepsiCo (PEP) will also post its results later in the week, and then we’ll know who really won the Cola Wars this time around.
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