Coca-Cola Co believes it has turned the corner in North America, after a difficult 2003. The company believes it is well poised for growth going forward this year.

Speaking in New York, president and chief operating officer Don Knauss said he saw "great potential" for sales and profit growth in the region this year.

Last year, Coke saw its US and Canadian market hit by sluggish sales, especially in the soft drink category. Sales by unit case volume grew by only 2% in the region last year, while the company's international operations posted 5% volume growth.

In a presentation, Knauss said: "I would classify North America as very confident going forward. We feel like we're in a much more stable position in North America."

Knauss pinned the positive outlook on the company's ability to continue developing new brands and a strategy designed to balance profit and volume growth more efficiently.