PepsiCo cuts growth goal

By @ibtimes on

PepsiCo Inc cut its full-year earnings growth target on Thursday, citing higher commodity costs, a difficult economy and investments in emerging markets.

The results come a day after rival Coca-Cola Co surprised the market with sales volume increases in all of its segments.

The maker of Pepsi-Cola and Frito Lay snacks saw its shares fall 1.8 percent in premarket trading, despite posting fourth-quarter sales and earnings that beat Wall Street estimates.

PepsiCo Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston told the CNBC cable news channel that the company expects commodity costs to rise 8 percent to 9.5 percent this year, but that PepsiCo will be careful not to raise prices too much to alienate consumers.

PepsiCo said it now expects full-year earnings to grow 7 percent to 8 percent. In October it said it expected growth of 11 to 12 percent, compared with a prior forecast of 11 to 13 percent.

In the fourth quarter, PepsiCo's net income fell 5 percent to $1.37 billion, or 85 cents per share, from $1.43 billion, or 90 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, earnings were $1.05 per share, topping analysts' average estimate of $1.04 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Its sales jumped 37 percent to $18.16 billion, helped by the acquisition last year of its two largest bottlers. Analysts were expecting revenue of $17.6 billion.

Fourth-quarter volume rose 2 percent for the Americas Foods business and 14 percent in the Americas Beverages business. Including PepsiCo's international businesses, total volume rose 3 percent in snacks and 12 percent in beverages.

Excluding added volume the company took on as part of its bottler acquisition, North American volume rose 1 percent, trailing the 3 percent growth seen by Coca-Cola, which gained market share.

PepsiCo shares fell $1.13 to $63.29 in premarket trading, from Wednesday's close of $64.42 on the New York Stock Exchange. coca-cola shares dipped 15 cents to $63.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Maureen Bavdek, Dave Zimmerman)

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