Profit in the third quarter for The Coca-Cola Company grew by 26 per cent to US$1.8 billion, compared with the same three months last year, as the global soft drinks giant completed the refranchising of its bottling operations in the US.

The refranchising process means that net sales were lower in the quarter by 9 per cent, at $8.25bn, but organic sales were up 6 per cent, driven by concentrate sales growth of 4 per cent. Global consolidated case volumes were up 2 per cent.

Coca-Cola attributed its organic growth to innovation in sparkling soft drinks, such as the double-digit volume growth of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar across all groups, as well as strong performance for brands such as Fuze Tea and Smartwater.

These results were supported by several strategic actions, including a number of acquisitions – such as the UK-based Costa coffee group, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019 – and other investments over the period.

“We continue to be encouraged by our performance year-to-date as we accelerate our evolution as an even more consumer-centric, total beverage company,” said Coca-Cola’s chief executive James Quincey. “The recent leadership appointments are intended to help accelerate the transformation of our company.”