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Coca-Cola Matches Estimates

Earnings: Results meet reduced figures for 2001. Declining currencies are likely to hurt '02 profit.

January 30, 2002|From Bloomberg News

Coca-Cola Co., the largest soft-drink maker, said that 2001 volume sales matched the low end of its reduced forecast and that profit this year would be hurt by falling currencies, including the devaluation of the Argentine peso.

Net income in the fourth quarter rose to $914 million, or 37 cents a share, from $242 million, or 10 cents, a year earlier, when one-time charges depressed results, the company said.

Fourth-quarter profit matched the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Coca-Cola is struggling to revive soft-drink demand in North America amid stiff competition from PepsiCo Inc. PepsiCo has moved more quickly than Coke to gain a footing in the fast-growing market for non-carbonated beverages. The company met the low end of Chief Executive Doug Daft's 2001 sales growth forecast of 4% to 5%.

Coca-Cola, which gets about three-fourths of its earnings from outside the U.S., said profit this year will be reduced by as much as 10 cents a share from declining currencies against the dollar. Excluding the currency impact, Coca-Cola said per-share earnings will rise within its "long-term expectations" of 11% to 12%.

Revenue in the fourth quarter rose 4% to $4.92 billion. Sales of non-carbonated beverages, which generate more than 13% of Coke's business, rose 22% in 2001.

Coke shares fell $1.21 to $44 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Other company earnings, excluding one-time gains and charges unless noted:

* AT&T Wireless Services Inc. had a fourth-quarter loss on higher operating expenses and investment losses. The loss from continuing operations was $355 million, or 14 cents a share, contrasted with a profit of $488 million, or 18 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts expected a smaller loss of 6 cents. Sales rose 19% to $3.53 billion.

* Barr Laboratories Inc. said its fiscal second-quarter profit more than doubled on sales of its generic version of the antidepressant Prozac and products acquired in its purchase of Duramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. Net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to $42.1million, or 91 cents a share, from $16.8million, or 38 cents, a year earlier. Revenue climbed 146% to $366.1million.

* CNet Networks Inc. reported an operating loss of $13.4 million, or 10 cents, for its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with profit of $13.2 million, or 9 cents, a year ago, as sales fell 37% to $70.2 million. Analysts expected a loss of 12 cents. CNet also lowered expectations for revenue for the first quarter and full year 2002.

* Exelon Corp., the largest U.S. nuclear generator, reported fourth-quarter earnings of $338 million, or $1.05 a share, down from $46 million, or 16 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $3.38 billion from $3.13 billion a year earlier. The company said it will cut 3,400 jobs, or 15% of its work force, by the end of 2002. The cuts are related to the company's formation last year when the parent of Philadelphia Electric Co. acquired Chicago's Commonwealth Edison in October 2000.

* FleetBoston Financial Corp. posted a fourth-quarter loss of $507million, or 49 cents per share, largely due to a $1.19-billion, or $1.14 per share, Argentina-related write-down. In the year-ago period, Fleet had profit of $894million, or 81 cents per share.

* Honeywell International Inc. said fourth-quarter profit fell 54% to $118 million, or 14 cents a share because of costs to settle a patent-infringement lawsuit with Northrop Grumman Corp. and lower sales. Sales fell 9.3% to $5.85 billion.

* Kellogg Co. said fourth-quarter profit rose 34% to $124.6 million, or 31 cents a share, as its 2001 purchase of Keebler Foods Co. led to greater-than-expected savings and it sold more cereal in the U.S. Sales rose 42% to $2.21 billion.

* Newport Corp., the Irvine technology equipment maker, said net income fell 99% to $103,000, or nil cents a share, for the fourth quarter, from $15.7 million, or 41 cents a share, a year ago. Sales fell 48% to $50.3 million.

* Pulte Homes Inc., the largest U.S. homebuilder, said fourth-quarter net income rose 39% to $119.4million, or $1.98 a share. Pulte said revenue rose 44% to $2billion. The company predicted relatively flat first-quarter earnings.

* Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. had its first loss as a public company in the fourth quarter as it slashed prices to attract vacationers. Royal, which is being acquired by P&O Princess Cruises for $7.4 billion, had a loss of $39 million, or 20 cents a share, contrasted with net income of $30 million, or 16 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose 2.2% to $656 million.

* United Parcel Service Inc. said its fourth-quarter earnings fell 11% to $645 million, or 57 cents a share, as the largest package-delivery company moved fewer goods in a recession. Sales rose 2.4% to $8.09 billion.

* U.S. Steel Corp. said its fourth-quarter loss widened as steel prices fell. The company said its net loss widened to $174 million, or $1.95 a share, from $139 million, or $1.57, a year earlier. Sales rose slightly to $1.41 billion.

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