Market Minute: Coke's Profit Rises; Coffee Changes Brewing at Burger King

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Coca-Cola (KO) says its profit rose 13 percent in the fourth quarter as the world's biggest beverage company sold more of its drinks overseas; and Burger King (BKW) is teaming up with Seattle's Best Coffee to overhaul its java offerings.

Burger KingUSA Today reports that the Home of the Whopper plans to double the number of coffee beverages it sells, following an example set by McDonald's (MCD) several years ago. The rollout begins this week, bringing new hot and iced coffees, decaf, and hot chocolate; flavored lattes arrive in March. "Every time a consumer purchases a cup of coffee at Burger King," the paper notes, "Starbucks (SBUX) makes a profit," since Seattle's Best is a subsidiary of the coffee colossus.

The Atlanta-based Coke said global sales volume rose 3 percent, driven by international growth. In the flagship North American market, volume rose just 1 percent, boosted by its Powerade sports drinks and bottled teas. Soda volume declined 2 percent.

The results come as Coca-Cola, which also makes Fanta, Minute Maid and Dasani water, relies on a shifting mix of drinks for growth in North America amid intensifying criticism of sugary sodas. Give the saturated U.S. and European markets, Coca-Cola is also increasingly looking for growth in countries where the ranks of middle-class customers are growing quickly. In the latest quarter, for example, the company said sales volume rose 12 percent in Russia and 13 percent in Turkey.

Volume in Europe declined 5 percent, which the company blamed on the uncertain economic climate.

For the October-to-December period, The Coca-Cola Co. earned $1.87 billion, or 41 cents per share. That's compared with $1.66 billion, or 36 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Not including one-time items, the company said it earned 45 cents per share.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $11.46 billion.

Analysts on average expected an adjusted profit of 44 cents per share on revenue of $11.53 billion.W

With reporting by the Associated Press.

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