Goldman Sachs said it expects bottlers Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc and Pepsi Bottling Group Inc to benefit from accelerated soda sales, new distribution agreements and a possible fall in commodity prices.
The brokerage also added Dr Pepper Snapple to its conviction buy list, saying soda volume growth at the beverage maker was well ahead of expectations as consumers were opting for sodas over higher-priced alternatives.
Goldman said in a note dated April 14 that it sees room for bottlers to lower costs given the favorable prices of key inputs, particularly aluminum, oil and corn.
New distribution agreements are expected to boost domestic profit at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Pepsi Bottling and PepsiAmericas Inc by more than 500 basis points, the brokerage said.
Coca-Cola Enterprises has a distribution deal to sell Hansen Natural Corp's Monster energy drinks in parts of the United States, in Canada and in six Western European countries, while Pepsi Bottling sells CytoSport Inc's protein drink Muscle Milk in the United States and Canada.
Goldman said shares of multi-national soft-drink makers like Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc could tread water in the near term as quarterly results may show a slowdown in Coca Cola's international businesses and continued weakness in PepsiCo's U.S. beverage unit.
The brokerage raised its price targets on shares of Dr Pepper Snapple to $23 from $20 and Pepsi Bottling to $27 from $24.
Coca-Cola Enterprise's shares closed up 2 percent at $14.37, while shares of Pepsi Bottling closed up 2 percent at $24.59 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
Shares of Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple closed up 2 percent at $19.78. (Reporting by Renju Jose in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Anne Pallivathuckal)