Coca-Cola Annual Reports

Where would you find a photo of Sam Nunn, former US Senator from Georgia, James D. Robinson III, former CEO of American Express, and Ronald W. Allen, former CEO of Delta Airlines, each holding a sleek black aluminum Coke Zero bottle posing at the World of Coca-Cola? On page 38 of the 2009 Annual Review of The Coca-Cola Company.

In fact, the three gentlemen along with eleven others posed at the World of Coca-Cola for the annual Coca-Cola Company Board of Directors photo shoot. The other three Board members held silver Diet Coke bottles, five had red Coke bottles, while three remaining members posed without a Coke bottle in their hands.

I enjoy reading the annual reports for product information and financial highlights each year. These reports provide a lot of interesting factoids on the company’s product and marketing strategies.

On page 9, you will find a sample of the per capita consumption of company beverage products (not just Coca-Cola) in 2009: Mexico comes in number one with a staggering 665 (8 fluid ounces) servings, followed by Malta with 598, Chile 426, U.S. 399 and Australia 332.

Coca-Cola has been investing heavily in China and India in recent years and their latest per capita consumption are 32 and 9 respectively, in other words, the company has high hopes for growth in these markets.

Interestingly, the number one sparkling (carbonated) soft drink in China is Sprite; and in India is Thums Up (acquired by Coca-Cola in 1993), followed by Sprite (Page 15). Even in Japan, Coca-Cola’s Georgia Coffee is the number one soft drink. As consumer tastes vary from country to country, it is nearly impossible to have the same beverage top the rankings in every market, but having the right portfolio strategy can still put the company in the leadership position.

Globally, Coca-Cola has achieved No. 1 global ranking for Sparkling Beverages, Juices and Juice Drinks, Ready-to-Drink Coffees and Teas. The company is No.2 in Sports Drinks, No.3 in Packaged Water, and Energy Drinks. Coca-Cola is working hard to achieve No. 1 in all these NARTD beverage categories. NARTD? Non-Alcoholic Ready-To-Drink.

Another interesting tidbit is that Nestea is not mentioned at all in the 2009 Annual Review. In the 2008 Annual Review, Nestea is listed as one of Coca-Cola’s 13 billion dollar brands. Nestea trademark belongs to Nestle and the beverage is being marketed and distributed throughout the Coca-Cola system, and Beverage Partners Worldwide, a joint-venture between Coca-Cola and Nestle.

In the 2009 report, Simply was the latest Coca-Cola brand to break the one-billion dollar revenue in a year and was added to the list of Billion Dollar Brands.

Looking at The Coca-Cola Company website, the corporate press release dated February 11, 2010, was the first time that Simply brand was added to the list of billion dollar brands and the total became 14. The press release dated March 26, 2010, still listed 14 billion dollar brands, but the press release dated March 29, 2010, the list became 13 billion dollar brands.

So why did Coca-Cola exclude Nestea from its billion dollar brands list?

Coca-Cola Nestle partnership started two decades ago in 1991 with Coca-Cola Nestle Refreshments to market read-to-drink coffee and tea. Then in 2001, the partnership was renewed as Beverage Partner Worldwide, but in late 2006, the scope of products was reduced to just ready-to-drink tea.

For coffee, Coca-Cola turned from the Swiss to the Italians by signing a global partnership with illycaffè SpA to develop and market ready-to-drink coffee under the illy issimo brand in late 2007 with final agreement inked in March 2008.

In February 2008, Coca-Cola took a 40% stake in Honest Tea with the rights to acquire the company after 3 years.

Personally, I enjoy Honest Tea more than Nestea. Although I also like Gold Peak which was developed and marketed by Beverage Partners Worldwide, it is very hard to find Gold Peak in stores.

Coca-Cola is expected to acquire 100% of Honest Tea in 2011 and perhaps will expand this popular brand.

Another brand that I have seen brewing in the Coca-Cola tea portfolio is Fuze. Already I have seen Fuze brand freshly brewed tea dispensers in Subway restaurants.  Fuze is also a recent acquisition by The Coca-Cola Company from 3 years ago.

I don't know why Nestea got dropped from the list, but I am not going to miss Nestea if it disappears from the shelves or vending machines in the U.S. as it has in Japan a few years ago.

Finally, the 2009 annual review from Coca-Cola has a CD on its last page. The contents include:
  • 2009 Investor and Analyst Meeting Highlights
  • 2009 Year-End Messages form Operating Group Leadership
  • 2009 Annual Report on Form 10-K
  • 2009 Annual Review
  • 2008/2009 Sustainability Review
  • Open Happiness Music Video
  • 2009 Open Happiness Global Advertising
As a collector, I also have Coca-Cola stockholder reports from as early as 1925. I am short of a few years to have a complete collection. I also have shareholder reports from Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company.

If you have copies of reports from Coca-Cola Amatil, Coca-Cola Femsa or other publicly traded Coca-Cola bottlers that you don’t need any longer, I will be happy to take them off your hands.