Pepsi Bottling Group


posted quarterly earnings that were slightly ahead of Wall Street's estimates, but the company said volume data was below its expectations in the U.S. for the last three months.

The company reported second-quarter earnings of $131 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a profit of $139 million, or 47 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $2.53 billion from $2.21 billion last year.

Worldwide physical case volume was flat for the quarter. Case volume was down 2% in the U.S., while volumes grew 3% in international territories.

"During the second quarter, we faced a number of challenging conditions in our U.S. markets," the company said in a press release. "Volume performance in the U.S. was below our expectations, primarily driven by softness in our cold-drink business. The introduction of Mountain Dew LiveWire during the latter part of the quarter, however, has produced encouraging results. Our flavor and diet soft drink portfolios also generated positive results with Sierra Mist leading the growth."

The company said it expects fiscal 2003 earnings of $1.61 to $1.67, before an accounting change, but considering the volume trends in the first half of the year, profits could come in at the low end of that range. Pepsi Bottling also said it expects worldwide volume for the full year to be flat to up 1%.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for earnings of 46 cents in the second quarter. The consensus forecast for the full year is a profit of $1.60.