Coca-Cola profit dented by Japan earthquake

Woman drinking a bottle of Coca Cola in front of the company's logo
Image caption Profits were up 18% from a year earlier, but still fell slightly short of expectations

Coca-Cola has revealed first-quarter profits that fell slightly short of market expectations.

The US soft drinks firm made $1.9bn (£1.15bn) in the first three months of the year, up 18% from a year ago.

Earnings were 1% lower than expected because of lost revenue from Japan, where sales suffered due to last month's earthquake and tsunami.

But the company benefited from the buy-out of its North American bottling plant last year.

The transaction helped Coke increase its operating revenue by 40% to $10.5bn.

Despite falling short of analysts' expectations in the first quarter, the company expressed optimism about the future.

"As we look [forward], we do so against the backdrop of a global economy that is still rebalancing," said chief executive Muhtar Kent.

But he said the "complex global geopolitical climate" brought "real opportunities and exciting growth prospects".

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