The Coca-Cola Co. has posted a drop in first quarter profit, despite a rise in sales. The company said today (19 April) that earnings for the three months to 31 March hit US$1bn, or 42 cents a share. In the corresponding period last year, Coke earned US$1.3bn, or 46 cents a share.

Revenue increased, however, to US$5.27bn compared to US$5.1bn a year earlier.

In a statement, Coke CEO Neville Isdell said: "We are taking the actions necessary to position the company for future growth. We have now completed a major review of our operational framework under the umbrella of our new Manifesto for Growth. A solid foundation has been laid from which future growth paths will continue to emerge.

"We still have much work ahead of us, but I am very confident that we are doing the right things, making good progress, and that our continued emphasis on execution will bring about long-term benefit," he added.

The company saw improved case volume sales in Japan, China and Latin America. Globally, unit case volume was up by 3% in the quarter.

In a conference call to investors earlier today, Isdell said the company is making satisfactory progress: "We're really at the end of the beginning," he said.