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Wed, Feb 14, 2001 EST
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Pepsico Posts Sharply Higher Earnings
Associated Press
NEW YORK — PepsiCo Inc. reported a nearly 25 percent increase in fourth quarter earnings on Monday, citing double-digit profit growth in both its snacks and beverage businesses and an extra week of results in the latest period.

The nation's biggest salty snacks maker and second biggest soft drink concern earned $611 million, or 41 cents a share, in the three months ended Dec. 30 compared with $490 million, or 33 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose to $6.4 billion from $5.7 billion a year earlier.

PepsiCo ends its fiscal year on the last Saturday in December and that meant the latest quarter included 17 weeks compared with 16 the previous year. The extra week boosted earnings by $44 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $294 million.

Without the extra week, it earned $567 million, or 38 cents a share, on sales of $6.1 billion in the latest period.

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had been looking for earnings of 38 cents a share for the quarter.

In afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, PepsiCo shares were down 9 cents at $44.90.

"Our strength was broadbased with solid earnings growth across every business, domestic and international," said Roger Enrico, chairman and chief executive.

He said the company expects "consistently healthy results" throughout this year.

Operating profits at the Frito-Lay snacks division rose 10 percent in North America and 11 percent overseas if the extra week is excluded in the latest quarter. The Tostitos and Lay's chip brands led snack food volume growth in North America,

Pepsi-Cola North America's operating profit climbed 13 percent despite investment in introducing lemon-lime Sierra Mist and a line of Dole juice drinks. Pepsi-Cola profits overseas were flat in contrast to a $7 million operating loss last year.

Looking ahead, Pepsi plans several new product launches including Pepsi Lemon Twist and the Code Red flavor extension of Mountain Dew, as well as contributions from its newly acquired SoBe noncarbonated beverages this year.

Profits rose 16 percent at the Tropicana juice division.

For the year, PepsiCo earned $2.18 billion, or $1.48 a share, versus $2.05 billion, or $1.37 a share, a year ago.

Revenue for the year rose to $20.44 billion from $20.37 billion in 1999.

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