PepsiCo

(PEP) - Get Report

said first-quarter profit rose 13% and beat analysts' consensus by 2 cents, due in part to a gain from the sale of its pasta business.

The company earned $777 million, or 45 cents a share, up from last year's $689 million, or 38 cents a share, beating analysts' average estimate of 42 cents a share.

The company said a reduction in costs associated with its merger with Quaker contributed 4 percentage points to the earnings increase, and a gain on the sale of Quaker's Mission pasta business, approximately $16 million after taxes, contributed another 2 percentage points to the increase.

Total revenue was $5.5 billion, up 4% from the prior year's $5.3 billion, due to increased volume. Worldwide volume growth was 3% for the quarter, the company said. Frito-Lay North America had 4% pound growth in the first quarter on top of the 6% volume growth in the first quarter of 2002, PepsiCo said.

"We're very pleased with our earnings growth this quarter. All of our divisions contributed to that growth," said Steve Reinemund, chief executive of the company. "We faced a tough global macro-economic environment and a difficult comparison with last year's 16% earnings per share growth in the first quarter."

Shares of the Purchase, NY-based company last dropped 1.65% to $39.90 Wednesday on the

New York Stock Exchange

.