updated 10/15/2008 8:00:49 AM ET 2008-10-15T12:00:49

The Coco-Cola Co., the nation’s biggest drink maker, reported a 14 percent profit increase for the third quarter, as business in emerging markets offset U.S. weakness.

The company posted earnings of $1.89 billion, or 81 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 26. That compares with $1.65 billion, or 71 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding certain charges, earnings per share were 83 cents.

Revenue was $8.39 billion, up 9 percent.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 77 cents per share on revenue of $8.53 billion.

The company saw a 5 percent increase in case volume in the quarter, including 3 percent growth in carbonated drinks and 10 percent growth in uncarbonated drinks, including juices and bottled water.

“Our system’s ability to adapt to changing economic and consumer environments was key to our success during the quarter, and we believe that this adaptability will continue to be crucial to the business going forward,” said Muhtar Ken, president and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co. in a statement. Ken noted that the company’s international business, in particular emerging markets, continue to fuel growth and acknowledged that the operating environment, especially in North America, will continue to be challenging as it finishes 2008 and heads into 2009.

Coca-Cola’s results came a day after rival PepsiCo Inc. announced that it was cutting 3,300 jobs and closing factories to give it some “breathing room” to navigate the volatility that has reached all corners of the global economy. The news came as PepsiCo reported a 9.5 percent drop in third-quarter profit, missing Wall Street expectations. PepsiCo also issued a downbeat profit outlook, saying that the dollar’s recent surge against other major currencies will hurt profits from its rapidly growing international business.

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