PepsiCo, Coke Enterprises beat Wall Street views

Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:06am EDT
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By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc PEP.N and Coca-Cola Enterprises CCE.N reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits, helped by price increases on sodas, and stood by their full-year forecasts.

For PepsiCo, 2012 is a transition year as it ramps up marketing, cuts thousands of jobs and streamlines its portfolio to improve its performance, especially in its North American drink business.

"As the year progresses, quarter by quarter, you'll start seeing the business strengthen," PepsiCo Chief Executive Indra Nooyi said on a conference call on Thursday.

Though its results beat expectations, PepsiCo shares fell slightly in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, dropping 0.2 percent to $66.50.

"Expectations were low and sentiment is still fairly negative," said JP Morgan analyst John Faucher. "We don't think that most skeptics will be convinced yet."

PepsiCo, maker of Frito-Lay snacks, Quaker oatmeal and Tropicana orange juice, said results were in line with its own expectations in the quarter, during which commodity cost inflation was at the highest rate expected for the year.

The company said it made progress on a range of initiatives in the first quarter, including innovation and advertising.

It launched Pepsi Next, a mid-calorie cola that it said is performing better than expected. It also boosted spending on media advertising by 25 percent. Overall, marketing spending as a percentage of sales is expected to rise by half a percentage point to 5.7 percent this year.   Continued...

Cases of Pepsi are displayed for sale in Carlsbad, California February 7, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake