From: Reuters
Published February 7, 2008 07:29 AM

PepsiCo profit falls

NEW YORK (Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc <PEP.N> reported lower quarterly profit on Thursday, hurt by a higher tax rate and a decline in sales volume of carbonated soft drinks.

The company, which makes Pepsi Cola drinks, Frito Lay snacks and Quaker oatmeal, said net income for the fourth quarter ended December 29 was $1.26 billion, or 77 cents per share, compared with $1.83 billion, or $1.09 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding restructuring charges and tax items, the company earned 80 cents per share, meeting the average estimate of analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.

Net revenue for the quarter rose to $12.35 billion, from $10.57 billion a year ago.

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For 2008, PepsiCo said it expects performance to be in line with its long-term targets. The company is expecting sales volume to rise 3 percent to 5 percent, net revenue to rise at a mid-to-high single digit percentage rate and earnings per share of at least $3.72.

The company said it expects total worldwide costs to rise at a mid-single-digit rate.

Last month Pepsi Bottling Group Inc <PBG.N>, the world's largest bottler of Pepsi drinks, reported flat sales volume in the United States and weaker sales of refrigerated drinks, sold at places such as convenience stores and service stations.

One analyst said those results implied economic weakness rather than shorter-term issues such as weather.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Derek Caney and Gerald E. McCormick)

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