PepsiCo CFO on Massive Earnings Beat, Creating Shareholder Value
Pepsi delivers an earnings beat for Wall Street.

It wasn't a perfect second quarter for PepsiCo (PEP) , but Wall Street is digging management's message following the results. 

The beverage and snacks giant smashed analyst profit forecasts by nine cents a share, posting adjusted earnings of $1.61 a share on the back of cost cuts in its various divisions. At $16.1 billion, net revenue was slightly ahead of consensus estimates. Organic revenue, which reflects the core operations of PepsiCo and excludes currency fluctuations, rose 2.6%.

The company reiterated its full-year sales and earnings-per-share growth forecasts. Shares rose as much as 4% in response.

While PepsiCo defied Wall Street's thinking, the challenges of operating a global packaged food company right now were on display. Volume in PepsiCo's North American beverage business fell 2% from a year earlier, with the division's operating profit falling by 15%. The business continues to be plagued by Coca-Cola's Co.'s (KO) comeback in the soda business, supported by aggressive marketing campaigns for diet soda.

PepsiCo Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston told TheStreet trends in the soda business are slowly improving amid renewed marketing efforts. Gatorade is also turning around, Johnston said. 

Johnston downplayed the prospect of PepsiCo re-franchising its North American beverage business. The move, which Coke pulled off in 2017, would free up resources for investment for PepsiCo. Wall Street has been speculating it could happen, perhaps this year.

"Nothing new to report at all, I wouldn't narrow things to re-franchising. We are basically focused on maximizing the long-term value creation out of all the businesses, North America beverage included. That's true of every business," Johnston said. "We will continue to look at options -- if nothing else, this management team has proven to be all about creating value for shareholders."

Johnston also said PepsiCo is committed to the Quaker Foods business when asked if the business could be sold. "We certainly view the Quaker trademark, and the Quaker oatmeal businesses and the businesses connected to that, as very strategic. As the consumer moves to eating generally healthier over time, we think that's a business that has an awful lot of upside potential in it," explained Johnston.

"Like anything else, we are all about value creation."

Meanwhile, PepsiCo also highlighted operating cost increases in most areas of business, consistent with recent commentary by others in the space.

"We were pleased that PEP generally exceeded muted sales growth and EPS ests heading into the print - and we expect the stock to respond favorably today in response," wrote Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog following the results.

"That said, results were not entirely clean, and we note that a gain from refranchising the company's beverage business in Thailand contributed 5pts to core OI growth (although this was partially offset by a -3pt impact from last year's gain from the Britvic minority stake sale). Furthermore, we are disappointed by mounting commodity pressures (negatively impacting results across all of PEP's segments) and soft NAB results, which despite sequential improvements, remain challenged." 

PepsiCo is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS.

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