Coca-Cola Company, the world’s largest soft-drink maker, reported second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates, helped by pricing increases in North America late last year.

Net income was little changed at $2.79 billion, or $1.21 a share, compared with $2.8 billion, or $1.20, a year earlier, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola said today in a statement. Excluding some items, profit totalled $1.22 a share. Analysts projected $1.19, the average of 14 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent raised pricing last year to help recoup higher costs for ingredients such as sweeteners and plastic for bottles. Pricing rose 3 percent in the second quarter, helped by a 5 percent jump in soft drink pricing in North America.

“We see profitability improving in North America from better pricing and abating commodity costs,” Judy Hong, an analyst for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York, said in a July 11 research note. She recommends buying the shares.

Coca-Cola rose 1.5 percent to $77.59 at 8:33 a.m. in New York. Before today, the shares had gained 9.3 percent this year.

Commodity costs this year may increase about $300 million from 2011, less than the $350 million to $450 million Coca-Cola had forecast in February.

Revenue in the quarter advanced 2.7 percent to $13.1 billion, according to the statement.

The volume of drinks sold globally increased 4 percent, including a 1 percent gain in North America. Volume sales in China rose 7 percent while Europe declined 4 percent.

Source: Bloomberg