Coca-Cola Co reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales, helped by its third straight quarter of sales growth in North America.

Shares of the world's largest soft drink maker rose 1 percent on Wednesday in premarket trading after reporting its first quarterly results that include its North American bottling operations.

Both Coke and rival PepsiCo Inc
acquired their North American bottlers last year as a way to improve performance by cutting costs, speeding innovation and giving them more control over distribution.

Coke said net income was $5.77 billion, or $2.46 per share, in the fourth quarter, up from $1.54 billion, or 66 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, earnings were 72 cents per share, meeting analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net revenue rose 40 percent to $10.5 billion, topping analysts' estimate of $10 billion, with 37 percent of the gain related to the October bottler acquisition.

Worldwide sales volume rose 6 percent in the quarter. Excluding the distribution of some Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc brands taken over with the bottling purchase, volume was up 5 percent.

Volume in North America rose 8 percent in the quarter. Excluding the Dr Pepper brands, organic volume rose 3 percent, an acceleration from 2 percent gains in the third and second quarters.

Coke shares rose to $63.50 in premarket trading from Tuesday's close of $62.87 on the New York Stock Exchange, where they have gained 6.3 percent since early October, when the acquisition closed.

Coke has underperformed the wider Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX>, which gained 15.6 percent over the same period, but outpaced a 4.2 percent decline by PepsiCo.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Dave Zimmerman)