The Coca-Cola Company today reported that third quarter earnings per share were up to $0.47, compared to $0.45 last year. However CEO Douglas Daft warned that full-year earnings may be $0.01 - $0.02 per share below the current consensus expectations of $1.78.

The period's EPS included a $0.01 per share non-recurring charge from Latin American equity investees and the negative impact of $0.01 per share from foreign currencies.

The company generated net cash from operating activities of $1.2 billion in the quarter and $3.4 billion for first nine months of the year.

Worldwide unit case volume increased more than 5% in the quarter and 5% for the first nine months, reflecting 9% volume growth in North America and 4% internationally in the quarter. Unit case volume benefited from the recent strategic acquisitions and license agreements on brands such as Evian, Danone waters, Seagram's Mixers, and Risco.

Daft said: "We continued to build on our progress in the first half of the year to generate year-to-date carbonated soft drinks growth of 2% and non-carbonated beverages growth of 27%, while continuing to enhance system profitability. While growth in North America was very strong, our worldwide results were below our internal projections due to extremely poor weather conditions in parts of Europe and Asia. Further, we have not yet seen the improvements in macroeconomic conditions that we anticipated when we set our earnings objectives at the beginning of 2002."

He continued; "However, as economic conditions are not expected to improve in the fourth quarter, we may not recoup the earnings impact of factors beyond our control that affected our business in the third quarter. As a result, it is possible that the Company's full-year earnings may be $0.01 - $0.02 per share below the current consensus expectations of $1.78.

"Even as economic conditions remain challenging, we are confident that our growth rates will continue to exceed the worldwide industry trends in all major beverage categories," concluded Daft.