Coca-Cola profits lose fizz in Europe

Image caption Coke said it had delivered "solid growth"

Profits at soft drink giant Coca-Cola have fallen by 15% on the back of sagging sales in the US and recession-hit Europe.

The bottom line was also affected by restructuring costs at its North American operations.

Coca-Cola made $1.75bn (£1.14bn) in the first three months of the year, compared with $2.05bn in the same period in 2012.

Sales in Latin America grew 4%, with volumes outpacing Europe.

Meanwhile, sales in Eurasia and Africa jumped by 9%, but much of that was down to Coke's acquisition of Saudi Arabia bottler Aujan.

Coca-Cola's chairman and chief executive, Muhtar Kent said that the company has "once again delivered solid growth against the backdrop of a still uncertain global economy".

Coca-Cola, whose brands include Sprite, Fanta and Minute Maid, also announced a deal to divest itself of some of its distribution operations, a strategy it has been trying to pursue for some time.

Coke is keen to return to a model in which it sells a syrup to independent bottlers, who then package and distribute it.

The latest deal to return some of its North American distribution to five independent bottlers is part of this strategy.

More on this story