Coke is it -- it being the #1 nonalcoholic beverage company, as well as one of the world's most recognizable brands. The Coca-Cola Company is home to 20 billion-dollar-brands, including four of the top five soft drinks: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, and Sprite. Other top brands include Minute Maid, Powerade, and vitaminwater. All told, the company owns or licenses and markets more than 500 beverage brands, mainly sparkling drinks but also waters, juice drinks, energy and sports drinks, and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. With the world's largest beverage distribution system, The Coca-Cola Company reaches thirsty consumers in more than 200 countries.
Coke manages seven main operating segments (most of them geographically-based), including: Eurasia and Africa; Europe; Latin America; North America; Asia Pacific; Bottling Investments; and Corporate. The North America operating segment generates the majority of its revenue from the sale of finished beverages, while the other geographic regions get most of their business from the manufacture and sale of beverage concentrates and syrups. The company made 63% of its sales from finished product operations during 2015, while the rest came from concentrate operations.
The Bottling Investments division focuses on the beverage company's owned bottling operations outside of North America. This segment helps to maximize the efficiency of its production, distribution, and marketing efforts. They include a 29% stake in Mexico's bottler Coca-Cola FEMSA (now the largest independent Coke bottler), 23% of European bottler Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling, and 29% of Coca-Cola Amatil, a bottler and distributor of Coke products in Australia, New Zealand, and surrounding countries. Other major independent bottling partners include Arca Continental, New Coca-Cola Enterprises, and wire Beverages.
The world's largest beverage company rang up almost 55% of its sales outside the US during 2015, in some 200 countries worldwide across Eurasia, Africa, Europe, North America, and the Pacific Region. Important international markets include Asia, Latin America, and Europe, which made up more than 30% of 2015 revenues, combined.
Sales and Marketing
Not only is Coca-Cola one of the world's most recognizable and valuable brands, but The Coca-Cola Company supports the largest beverage distribution system in the world, made up of company-owned or controlled bottling and distribution operations, as well as independently owned bottling partners, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. Beverages bearing trademarks owned by or licensed to them account for 1.9 billion of the approximately 57 billion beverage servings of all types consumed worldwide every day.
In 2015, about 81% of the company's worldwide unit case volume was outside of the US. The largest unit case volumes were in Mexico, China, Brazil, and Japan, which made up 31% of worldwide total. Of these international unit case volumes, 74% held sparkling beverages while the rest held still beverages.
To keep its brand foremost in the mind of consumers, the company spent $4 billion on advertising in 2015, up from $3.5 billion and $3.26 billion in 2014 and 2013, respectively.
The Coca-Cola Company's annuals sales and profits have been trending lower over the past several years as traditional soft drink sales have fallen with changing consumer tastes in developed markets.
The soft-drink maker's sales fell 4% to $44.3 billion during 2015 with sales falling in every segment and region except for North America (where it sold more bottled water and teas), mostly due to the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange rates. Unit case volume shipments, however, increased in every territory in the low-single digits, while Bottling Investment shipments rose 8% with higher growth in China and India, and in Germany to a lesser extent.
Despite sales declines in 2015, the company's net income rose 4% to $7.35 billion mostly as its deal with Monster Beverage was re-appraised to be worth $1.4 billion more than previously believed. Coca-Cola's operating cash levels dipped 1% to $10.53 billion after adjusting for the impact of foreign currency fluctuations and because it paid more in tax payments.
The Coca-Cola Company continues to look to relatively undeveloped markets with a growing middle class and money to spend on soft drinks and juices. To that end, it announced it will invest $5 billion with its bottling partners in Africa through 2020, raising its investment in the region to $17 billion from 2010 to 2020.
In a move that supported expanding its fruit-based drinks portfolio and investing in Africa, The Coca-Cola Company in late 2014 announced a partnership with alcoholic beverage company SABMiller and South Africa's Gutsche Family Investments to create Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, the continent's largest bottler. The new company serves about a dozen high-growth markets where disposable incomes and the population are growing, and handles about 40% of the beverage company's African volume. In exchange for its $260 million investment, The Coca-Cola Company will receive an 11% interest in the bottler and SABMiller's global Appletiser brand of carbonated juices as well as about 20 other African and Latin American non-alcoholic beverage brands. Gutsche Family Investments already controls Coca-Cola Sabco, a Coke bottler since 1940 with operations in seven African countries. Coca-Cola Beverages Africa will absorb most of SABMiller's non-alcoholic operations on the continent as well as Coca-Cola Sabco's plants.
Also in 2014, the company teamed up with Keurig Green Mountain, entering into a 10-year global strategic agreement to collaborate on the development and introduction of The Coca-Cola Company global brand portfolio for use in Keurig Green Mountain's Keurig Kold at-home beverage system. It purchased a 16% stake in Monster Beverage Corporation in a long-term strategy to accelerate growth for both companies in the fast-growing, global energy drink industry.
The popularity of soft drinks, especially in mature markets, has been on the decline for the past decade as negative publicity about obesity and other health risks continues to threaten sales. As a result, The Coca-Cola Company and other top soft drink makers are turning toward other parts of their noncarbonated product portfolio for growth, such as fruit juices, sports and energy drinks, and bottled water and tea beverages.
A part of the plan to rely less on the old way of doing business, and compensate for falling sales amidst changing tastes, the company is selling many of its low-margin bottling operations to concentrate on higher margin operations like selling concentrates and syrups to bottlers.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Diversifying its portfolio, in 2014 the company acquired a 16.7% equity stake in Monster Beverage Corp., a leading maker of energy drinks. Under the terms of the deal, The Coca-Cola Company will transfer ownership of its worldwide energy business, including NOS, Full Throttle, Burn, Mother, Play and Power Play, and Relentless, to Monster; and Monster will transfer its non-energy business, including Hansen's Natural Sodas, Peace Tea, Hubert's Lemonade and Hansen's Juice Products, to The Coca-Cola Company.
In 2013 Coca-Cola opened a new bottling plant in Myanmar as part of a planned $200 million investment during the next five years there which also includes adding more than 22,000 jobs during that time period. Also that year, in growing its distribution network, The Coca-Cola Company bought Sacramento Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the sixth-largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the nation that serves nine northern California counties.