The Coca-Cola Co. reports strong fourth quarter 2010 operating results, with reported worldwide volume growth of 6 percent, cycling 5 percent growth in the prior year quarter. For the full year, reported worldwide volume grew 5 percent, ahead of our long-term growth target. Excluding the benefit of new cross-licensed brands in North America, primarily Dr Pepper brands, worldwide volume grew 5 percent in the quarter and 5 percent for the full year. The company achieved broad-based volume growth in the quarter across each of our five geographic operating groups, with growth of 14 percent in Eurasia and Africa, 5 percent in Latin America, 2 percent in Europe, 1 percent in Pacific and 8 percent in North America (3 percent excluding the benefit of new cross-licensed brands), its third consecutive quarter of organic growth.
In the quarter and for the full year, the company gained global volume and value share in NARTD beverages, with share gains across most beverage categories. The company continued to see strong growth in sparkling beverages, with worldwide brand Coca-Cola volume up 4 percent in the quarter driven by a wide array of global markets, including 37 percent in Russia, 20 percent in Turkey, 10 percent in India, 8 percent in Brazil, 7 percent in South Africa, 5 percent in Japan, 5 percent in Mexico and 2 percent in France. Worldwide sparkling beverage volume increased 5 percent in the quarter (3 percent excluding the benefit of new cross-licensed brands in North America), with international sparkling beverage volume increasing 4 percent.
Worldwide still beverage volume increased 9 percent in the quarter, led by growth across the portfolio, including juices and juice drinks, sports drinks, teas and water brands. Still beverage volume in the quarter increased 11 percent internationally and 7 percent in North America with the continued strong global performance of sports drinks, driven by Powerade (+12 percent). Sports drink growth in the quarter was balanced across key geographies, led by North America (+20 percent), South Korea (+43 percent), South Africa (+21 percent) and Mexico (+14 percent) as we continued to benefit from our powerful FIFA World Cup™ programs and successful innovation like Powerade Zero in the U.S. Minute Maid Pulpy, which became our 14th billion dollar brand at the end of 2010, continues to expand globally and achieved 23 percent growth in the quarter and 31 percent growth for the full year. The company also grew vitaminwater in the quarter, with double-digit growth internationally and 10 percent growth in North America.
Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Co. said in a prepared statement, "We once again delivered strong results this quarter, with volume growth realized across all five of our geographic operating groups. Importantly, we achieved solid growth in our developed markets with 3 percent growth in North America, 2 percent growth in Europe and 2 percent growth in Japan. Together with our global bottling partners, we are decisively executing our 2020 Vision, and I am pleased that we met or exceeded all of our long-term growth targets for both the quarter and the year, all while we completed our acquisition of CCE's North American business, began successfully integrating Coca-Cola Refreshments and operated in a still uncertain global economic environment. Further, as we strategically invest in inspirational marketing as well as sales and marketplace execution, we again gained broad-based worldwide volume and value share. 2010 was the first year in our journey to realize our 2020 Vision and our reported results today underscore the strength of our foundation.
"Now, as we enter 2011, we do so with solid momentum. This year marks the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola, and the second year of our 2020 Vision, and we see opportunities as exciting as our predecessors must have seen back in 1886. Our commitment to shape a better future is perhaps the greatest responsibility given to each and every one of us at The Coca-Cola Co. This commitment is the foundation upon which our 2020 Vision is built, and we are confident that our system is well-positioned to build on the legacy of those who came before us. We intend to be the industry leader in every market we serve by continuing to invest in our brands and market execution capabilities, by advancing our sustainability efforts to drive our business, and by embedding ourselves even further into our customers' growth strategies.
"The fact that we are a thriving business after nearly 125 years is a testament to our youth, not our age. There is something special indeed about an enterprise that is in a state of constant renewal and dynamic growth. And while we recognize that challenges remain in our worldwide marketplace, we are confident that we are advancing our global momentum to deliver long-term sustainable growth and value for our shareowners."
All references to structural changes impacting comparable currency neutral results include the CCE transaction and elimination of CCE equity income, the sale of the Norway and Sweden bottling operations, other structural items and the benefit of new cross-licensed brands, primarily Dr Pepper brands.
"Fourth quarter comparable currency neutral net revenue increased 45 percent, reflecting a 6 percent increase in concentrate sales, 2 percent positive price/mix and a 37 percent benefit from structural changes, principally related to the CCE transaction. Concentrate sales growth is in line with unit case volume growth for the full year at 5 percent after adjusting for the deconsolidation of certain entities as of Jan. 1, 2010 required by a change in accounting guidance. The 2 percent positive price/mix in the quarter reflects our continued focus on executing our revenue growth management strategies to realize positive pricing that more than offsets the ongoing impact of geographic mix. Full-year comparable currency neutral net revenue increased 14 percent, reflecting a 5 percent increase in concentrate sales, 1 percent positive price/mix and an 8 percent benefit from structural changes, principally related to the CCE transaction.
"Comparable currency neutral operating income was up 10 percent in the quarter and 11 percent for the full year, reflecting a 3 percent increase in the quarter and a 1 percent increase for the year as a result of structural changes, principally related to the CCE transaction. This was driven by strong top-line performance as well as a continued focus on cost management and the leveraging of productivity initiatives. Currency had a 1 percent positive impact on comparable operating income in the quarter and a 3 percent positive impact for the year.
"Reported full-year cash from operations increased 16 percent to $9.5 billion.
"Our company returned $7.2 billion to shareowners in 2010, through $4.1 billion in dividends and $3.1 billion in share repurchases. In 2011, we expect to repurchase $2.0 to $2.5 billion in stock over the course of the year as part of our share repurchase program.
As required by accounting standards, the company revalued its 33 percent ownership of CCE to fair value at the closing date of the transaction to acquire CCE's North American operations, resulting in a $5.0 billion one-time non-cash gain in the fourth quarter of 2010.
"Our transaction with CCE closed on plan and on schedule, with expected 2011 cost synergies of $140 to $150 million. This is in addition to the $150 million in annual synergies previously identified in North America as part of Coca- Cola Supply.
"Productivity initiatives are well on track and on plan to achieve our target of $500 million in annualized savings by year-end 2011."