Shares of coffee-pod system and beverage maker Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) - Get Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. Report  shot higher on Thursday after the company posted third-quarter sales that beat analysts' forecasts - and adjusted per-share earnings that matched - on strong demand for its coffee-pod systems and its staple Dr. Pepper and Canada Dry soda beverages. 

On a pro-forma basis, sales came in at $2.87 billion, slightly higher than $2.86 billion recorded for the year-earlier period and the $2.8 billion expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

The merger of Keurig Green Mountain and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group was completed in July 2018.

Adjusted net income, meantime, came in at $451 million, or 32 cents a share, vs. adjusted pro forma net income of $417 million, or 30 cents a share, in the year-ago period, the Burlington, Mass., company said. Those results matched analysts' forecasts.

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"Healthy underlying growth in all four segments, combined with margin expansion, enabled strong earnings growth, cash generation and continued debt reduction," CEO Bob Gamgort said in a statement.

Sales of its coffee systems gained 5.6% to $1.31 billion vs. $1.24 million a year ago, "primarily reflecting the impact of the merger," the company said. Sales of its staple beverage products including Dr. Pepper, Canada Dry, Big Red and Sunkist increased 14% to $360 million vs. $317 million in the year-ago period.

Separately, the company reaffirmed its 2019 adjusted per-share earnings growth of between $1.20 and $1.22, with net sales growth of approximately 3%, at the high end of the company's long-term merger target of 2-3%. Free cash flow generation is expected to be in the range of $2.3 billion to $2.5 billion, the company said.

Shares of Keurig Dr Pepper were up 13.38%, or $3.77 a share, at $31.95 in morning trading on Thursday.

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