Coca-Cola CEO: UK consumer sentiment will lift if Brexit deal passes

CNBC 1 month ago

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said that if U.K. lawmakers pass a Brexit deal, consumer sentiment will improve.

"If it mercifully comes to an end, then yes I do think that sentiment will improve, maybe not overnight, but over time and hopefully going into 2020," Quincey told analysts on the company's earnings call Friday.

The European Union and the United Kingdom agreed on a new withdrawal agreement that will allow the country to leave the political and trade union. U.K. Parliament will vote on the deal Saturday, but it is unclear if it will pass. The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party has said that it will be unable to support the deal in Saturday's vote. If U.K. lawmakers pass the agreement, EU Parliament will also have to ratify the deal.

But the three-year uncertainty about fate of the U.K. has put pressure on British businesses and consumers. Coke, like many other companies, increased its U.K. inventory in case of a no-deal Brexit, which would mean leaving the E.U. without any kind of trade agreement.

"It would be fair to say that in the short term, the U.K. business has been impacted by the consumer sentiment, driven by Brexit in the U.K., which has affected everyone — the entire business outlook in the U.K." Quincey said.

Coke announced its third-quarter results Friday. Its earnings were in line with analysts' estimates, while its revenue topped Wall Street's expectations, thanks to growing sales for healthier drink options.


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