The Coca-Cola Company said the March freeze in Europe had helped dent its overall profits, alongside the continued economic uncertainty in many countries around the globe.

The company made $1.75bn (£1.14bn) in the first three months of the year, a fall of 15% compared with $2.05bn in the same period in 2012.

Coca-Cola said volumes in the UK returned to growth in the three months ending 29 March, with volume and value share gains in non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages as well as in sparkling and still drinks.

However volumes for Europe were flat year-on-year, although an improvement on the fourth quarter of 2012. Reported net profits were down 2%.

Coca-Cola also announced a deal to divest itself of some of its distribution operations in the US.

Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive, said the company had delivered “solid growth against the backdrop of a still uncertain global economy”.

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