Coca-Cola shares hit by profit fall

Coca-Cola bottles Coca-Cola is the world's biggest drinks company

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Shares of beverage giant Coca-Cola saw their biggest fall in two years after its profit fell due to slowing sales in the US and Europe.

Coca-Cola's fourth-quarter net income fell 8.4% from a year earlier to $1.7bn (£1bn), missing analyst estimates.

Revenue also fell, partly due to currency fluctuations and the sale of its bottling operations in Brazil and the Philippines last year.

Its stock lost as much as 4.3% in US trading after its earnings release.

Coca-Cola chief executive Muhtar Kent said they were looking to "restore momentum" to its business this year.

"While we move forward in what remains an uncertain global economy, the long-term fundamentals driving our business and industry have not changed," he said in a statement.

"A rising middle class, greater urbanization and increasing personal consumption expenditures in markets around the world will continue to drive greater demand for our beverages."

Coffee boost?

Coca-Cola plans to increase its spending on advertising to spur sales, while simultaneously looking to save $1bn in annual costs by 2016.

The Atlanta-based company has also been branching out into other drink options, such as juices, teas and water.

Last month, it also bought a 10% stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters for about $1.25bn.

Rival PepsiCo has also been struggling with weak sales of carbonated soft drinks, and announced plans last week to close plants and increase automation to save money.

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