Has Coca-Cola lost its fizz?

Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX: CCL) has downgraded its profit guidance for the 2014 financial year, now reporting that earnings are expected to be between 5-7% lower than the previous year.

The company says whilst it had seen an improvement in volume and market share in its Australian beverage business in the third quarter, since the beginning of October, it has not seen an expected post-election lift in consumer spending. That’s something that a number of companies have already reported, including David Jones (ASX: DJS), Westfield Retail Trust (ASX: WRT) and JB Hi-Fi (ASX: JBH).

Coca-Cola says that its non-grocery business continued to grow volumes, but consumer demand has been more subdued than expected. It seems Australian households are still being cautious and keeping their hands in their pockets. The SPC Ardmona fruit packaging business continues to experience a reduction in earnings, although this may pick up as Coles and Woolworths (ASX: WOW) commit to convert to 100% Australian grown produce for packaged fruit.

In Indonesia, Coca-Cola says demand has slowed, and the Papua New Guinea economy has shown no signs of improvement, with falling commodity prices and reduced mining activity and investment continuing to impact government revenues and employment levels. Indonesia is experiencing higher levels of inflation which is impacting on consumer spending, but the company says its still expects to deliver low double-digit volume and earnings growth in the country.

Coca-Cola also reiterated that it had entered into a long-term exclusive agreement with the Boston Beer Company to distribute America’s largest selling craft beer, Samuel Adams, into Australia from mid-December. Managing Director Terry Davis says he expects the alcoholic beverages business to generate 1-2% of incremental earnings growth in 2014.

Foolish takeaway

Coca-Cola Amatil is likely to generate higher revenue and earnings over the long-term, and the current slowdown appears temporary. With the shares down near 4% at $12.39 in mid-morning trading, now could be the perfect opportunity to pick up shares in a high quality company, with strong brands and with a number of levers to drive future growth.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Coca-Cola Amatil and Woolworths. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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