PepsiCo Tops Q1 Earnings Forecast, Commits to 2020 Share Buybacks And Dividends

PepsiCo said it expects to return $7.5 billion to shareholders, with $2 billion from buybacks and $5.5 billion from dividends.

PepsiCo  (PEP) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Tuesday, but pulled its full-year profit guidance amid consumer uncertainty linked to the global coronavirus pandemic. 

PepsiCo said core earnings for the three months ending in March were pegged at $1.07 per share, up 10.3% from the same period last year and 4 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, PepsiCo said, rose 7.8% to $13.88 billion, again topping analysts' estimates of a $13.2 billion tally.

PepsiCo said it will scrap its 2020 earnings guidance, which had called for 4% organic revenue growth and 7% core earnings growth, but noted that it will continue to buyback shares and pay a cash dividend, with the collective returns amounting to around $7.5 billion this year.

"Despite a strong first quarter, there is still a great deal of uncertainty that exists in relation to COVID-19, including how geographies, retail channels and consumer behaviors will evolve over time." said CEO Ramon Laguarta. "Due to this uncertainty, the Company's previous financial outlook regarding fiscal year 2020 is no longer applicable."

"However, with a strong balance sheet, highly cash generative business and ample liquidity, we believe we have adequate flexibility to meet the needs of our business and return cash to shareholders," he added. 

PepsiCo shares were marked 1.65% higher in early trading immediately following the earnings release at $136.62 each.

 PepsiCo said Frito-Lay's north American sales rose 7% from last year, alongside a 3% growth rate for revenues, while north American beverages revenues also rose 7%.