Coca Cola, PepsiCo report growth in first quarter

NEW YORK: PepsiCo reported a 13 per cent increase in its first-quarter '03 earnings and Coca-Cola Co posted a jump in revenue and net profit for its first quarter despite weaker-than-expected sales in North America and many other markets.

Earnings for PepsiCo increased to $ 777 million in the three months ended in March from $ 689 million, a year earlier. For the first three months 2003, Coca-Cola made a net profit of $ 835 million. This compares with a loss of $ 194 million in the same period last year. The revenue for the first quarter was $ 4.5 billion, up 10 per cent from $ 4.08 billion a year ago.

PepsiCo officials said that unit volume rose 3 percent for both snacks and beverages during the quarter, while net revenue rose to $ 5.53 billion from $ 5.31 billion. Analysts pointed out that PepsiCo, the No. 2 worldwide soft-drink maker behind Coca-Cola Co, is trying to sell more of its products by linking drinks and foods together. Ads recently pitched Lay's potato chips and Pepsi soft drinks, and the company is also pushing Quaker breakfast foods alongside Tropicana juices.

PepsiCo showed growth in all of its major business areas. Overall worldwide sales increased 3 per cent while global sales of snacks and beverages each increased 3 per cent. But the continued growth at Frito-Lay North America was the brightest spot in the report.

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