Coca-Cola welcomed Shareholders to its annual meeting to reflect on a challenging but rewarding 2013 and outline reasons to believe in the company's prospects in 2014 and beyond. Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, highlighted during his opening keynote, that "The Coca-Cola system set several records in 2013.
Coke bottling partners around the world now serve a record 24 million customers each week".
The company's flagship brand posted record volume of nearly 11 billion unit cases in 2013.Coke is a billion-dollar brand in 19 countries, including developed markets like Great Britain, Japan and Mexico, and developing markets like South Africa, Brazil, Turkey, Argentina and Colombia. Coca-Cola picked up global market share in total nonalcoholic ready-to-drink (NARTD) beverages.
Caffeine-Free Coke Zero launched in 2013, and Coca-Cola Life, a lower-calorie Coke Light naturally sweetened with sugar and stevia, debuted in Argentina and Chile. The company's still beverage portfolio was up 5 percent in 2013. Ready-to-drink tea was a standout, up 11 percent, and juices and juice drinks grew by 5 percent.
Coca-Cola sold 51 percent of its Philippines bottling operation in 2013 to Coca-Cola FEMSA and helped consolidate bottling partners in parts of Brazil, the Iberian Peninsula and the greater Tokyo region.
In 2013, the company generated $10.5 billion in cash from operations, returning $8.5 billion in value to shareowners through dividends and net share repurchases. In early 2014, the company raised its dividend by 9 percent - its 52nd consecutive annual dividend increase.
Coke is focused on making a positive difference in communities around the world through a three-pronged sustainability agenda focused on empowering women through its 5by20 program and other initiatives; replacing every liter of water used to manufacture its beverages through reduction, recycling and replenishment projects by 2020; and promoting well-being through four global commitments focused on increasing the availability of low- and no-calorie beverage options, responsible marketing, transparent labeling and supporting active healthy living programs worldwide.
In Azerbaijan, the company is also committed to enhance local communities, carrying out and leading sustainability programs with a National Olympic Committee, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Azerbaijan Football Federations Association and other institutions. The fields of cooperation are Active and healthy lifestyle - "Keep your physical activity up" with the Ministry of Health, "Active family, Healthy community" with National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Education, "School Cup Tournament" with AFFA and the Ministry of Education, as well as economic empowerment program - Youth Inc with "Debates in Civil Society" and the Ministry of Economic Development of Azerbaijan Republic.
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company's portfolio features 16 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates.
For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company