* Lowers top end of 2009 revenue and EPS outlook
* Reaches distribution agreements for certain brands
* Shares down less than 1 percent (Adds details on industry performance, distribution agreement; updates share activity)
LOS ANGELES, Dec 8 (Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N) lowered the top end of its revenue and earnings outlooks, as it steps up investments in projects aimed at increasing its growth and profitability amid falling North American soft drink sales.
The company, which reiterated its 2010 guidance on Tuesday, said it also reached a distribution agreement for certain Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc (DPS.N) brands.
The food and beverage company now expects fiscal 2009 PepsiCo constant currency net revenue to be up about 5 percent. It also sees earnings per share increasing about 5 to 6 percent in constant currency.
The company previously said it expected 2009 net revenue and core earnings per share to rise at a mid-to-high single-digit percentage rate on a constant currency basis.
Based on core earnings of $3.68 per share in 2008, PepsiCo is forecasting a 2009 range of $3.86 to $3.90 -- still well above Wall Street’s expectations for $3.76, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
PepsiCo said it continued to expect fiscal 2010 constant currency earnings per share growth of 11 percent to 13 percent, excluding items.
The company also inked a manufacturing and distribution agreement covering certain Dr Pepper Snapple products following PepsiCo’s proposed acquisition of Pepsi Bottling Group PBG.N and PepsiAmericas Inc PAS.N.
Under the deal, Dr Pepper Snapple will license certain brands to PepsiCo upon completion of PepsiCo’s purchases of the bottlers. Additionally, Dr Pepper Snapple will receive a one-time upfront payment of $900 million, before taxes and other related fees and expenses.
Under a new licensing agreement that replaces existing agreements with the bottlers, PepsiCo will distribute Dr Pepper, Crush and Schweppes in the United States; Dr Pepper, Crush, Schweppes, Vernors and Sussex in Canada; and Squirt and Canada Dry in Mexico.
The new agreement will have an initial term of 20 years, with 20-year renewal periods, and will require PepsiCo to meet certain performance conditions.
PepsiCo shares fell 0.8 percent to $63.00 in after-hours trading, from a regular-session close of $63.48 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Richard Chang