By AP Business Writer
updated 4/16/2008 8:11:41 AM ET 2008-04-16T12:11:41

The Coca-Cola Co. said Wednesday that its first-quarter profit rose 19 percent on a 21 percent increase in sales. The results beat Wall Street expectations.

The Atlanta-based company said its profit was $1.5 billion, or 64 cents a share, in the three-month period ending March 28. That compared to a profit of $1.26 billion, or 54 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding a one-time charge of 3 cents a share related to restructuring charges and asset writedowns, Coca-Cola said it earned $1.58 billion, or 67 cents a share, in the quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting earnings of 63 cents a share in the quarter. Analysts generally exclude one-time items from their estimates.

Revenue rose to $7.38 billion compared to $6.10 billion a year earlier.

Worldwide unit case volume was up 6 percent for the first quarter and international unit case volume was up 7 percent.

Later Wednesday, the world's largest beverage maker was to hold its annual meeting in Wilmington, Delaware.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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