Price Increases Help Pepsi Pop

PURCHASE, N.Y. ( TheStreet) -- PepsiCo's ( PEP) third-quarter earnings beat showed the beverage and snack maker has been successful in passing on higher costs to consumers.

Pepsi

Standard & Poor's analyst Esther Kwon was encouraged by the company's reiteration of its 2011 earnings guidance, particularly as the boost from foreign exchange was less robust. Kwon maintained a buy rating on the stock but cut her price target by $1 to $70.

Beverage volume in the Americas was "lackluster" because of a decline in sales of carbonated soft drinks, Kwon said, although this was somewhat offset by gains in non-carbonated drinks.

Pepsi's 13% jump in total revenue, to $17.58 billion, was led by 33% growth in emerging markets, helped in part by the company's recent acquisition of Will-Bill-Dann, a Russian dairy and juice company.

On an adjusted basis, Pepsi earned $2 billion, or $1.31 per share, in its recent quarter, topping expectations by a penny.

In July , Pepsi lowered its guidance for the year, citing soft consumer demand in developed markets like North America, while input costs for commodities and fuel were rising.

To offset these rising costs, Pepsi said it would implement previously announced incremental price increases. On Wednesday, the company maintained its forecast for high-single-digit core EPS growth from its fiscal 2010 profit of $4.13 a share. In July, analysts had expected Pepsi to earn $4.50 a share for fiscal 2011, but the consensus has since dropped to $4.41.


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