Pepsi Reports Profit Rise

  Pepsi Bottling Group Inc (PBG.N) reported a slightly higher-than-expected quarterly income on Tuesday, as price grows and easing commodity costs helped offset falling sales volume.

  The largest bottler of PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N) drinks said net income was $254 million, or $1.14 per share, in the third quarter, up from $231 million, or $1.06 per share, a year earlier.

   Excluding items, earnings were $1.06 per share. Analysts on average were expecting $1.05 per share, excluding items.

  Net revenue fell nearly 5 % to $3.63 billion, failing to meet analysts' average expectation for $3.73 billion.

  Total sales by volume fell 2 %, as a 1 % gain in Mexico was offset by declines of 5 % in Europe and 1 % in the United States and Canada.

   Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue per case rose 4 %, helped by increases of 3 % in the United States and Canada, 7 % in Europe and 6 % in Mexico.

   The company, which is being acquired by PepsiCo, its largest shareholder and supplier, still expects 2009 earnings to be near the high end of its prior forecast of $2.30 to $2.40 per share. It raised its operating free cash flow forecast to $550 million, $100 million higher than its earlier expectation.

   PepsiCo said in August that it would buy Pepsi Bottling and PepsiAmericas Inc (PAS.N), its second-biggest bottler, for $7.8 billion, as it seeks to cut costs in North America.

   The world's second-biggest soft drink maker behind Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) said on Monday that Pepsi Bottling Chief Executive Eric Foss would run its new integrated North American bottling business, according to Reuters.

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