S&P boosts outlook for Coca-Cola to positive from stable, backs investment-grade ratings

NEW YORK , October 31, 2011 () – Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Monday raised its outlook for The Coca-Cola Co. to "Positive" from "Stable," saying the beverage company's finances and credit remain strong despite continued weak economic conditions.

S&P also backed its investment grade ratings for Coca-Cola, including its "A+" long-term corporate credit and "A-1" short-term corporate credit and commercial paper ratings.

Coca-Cola had about $29 billion in outstanding debt as of Sept. 30.

The ratings service said that if the Atlanta-based company is able to achieve annual revenue growth in the low- to mid-single-digit range, its strong cash flow will allow it to sustain credit measures that justify a higher rating.

S&P pointed to Coca-Cola's position as the world's largest nonalcoholic beverage company, along with its geographic diversification, which should continue to translate into strong profitability and cash flow.

In afternoon trading, Coca-Cola shares fell 22 cents to $68.71.

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