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Dr Pepper Snapple Group reports 37% jump in EPS for Q1

BY Allison Cerra

PLANO, Texas Dr Pepper Snapple Group reported a 37% increase in earnings per share for its first quarter 2009, the company announced Wednesday.

The company reported first quarter 2009 earnings of $0.52 per share, compared with earnings of $0.38 per share in the prior-year period. Excluding net gains related to the Hansen contract termination settlement and the sale of certain distribution rights in the current year period, as well as restructuring charges in the prior year period, the company earned $0.37 per share compared with $0.40 per share in 2008.

For the first quarter, reported net sales declined 3%. Excluding the loss of Hansen product distribution and on a currency neutral basis, net sales increased 4% on 6% sales volume growth and solid pricing actions. Net sales growth was negatively impacted by a higher mix of carbonated soft drink concentrates and value juices. Segment operating profit, as adjusted, increased 18% reflecting lower commodity and fuel costs, operating benefits from higher volumes and a strong cost control focus. Reported income from operations was $265 million, including $62 million of net pre-tax gains related to certain distribution agreement changes.

“While the U.S. economy remains weak, consumer sentiment appears to be improving and we’re continuing to see a shift in purchase habits toward CSDs and other value offerings,” said Dr Pepper Snapple president and CEO Larry Young. “Our portfolio of CSDs and value juices performed extremely well in the quarter led by strong gains in Crush distribution and Hawaiian Punch and solid Dr Pepper and Core 4 growth. Pressure remains at the premium end of the portfolio, especially with Snapple. We’re confident, however, that recent product and package changes coupled with strong marketing programs will return this brand to growth toward the end of this year.”

Young added, “As we look ahead, we see a North America beverage industry that will be markedly different, yet has the potential to reignite category growth. For DPS, this presents a unique opportunity to build upon our already strong growth prospects. This will require even greater attention to revenue, cost and productivity management and ongoing investments in our brands to ensure we capture our fair share of the growth.”

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Bacardi rolls out new RTD beverage

BY Allison Cerra

MIAMI A variation of of the original Bacardi Mojito is now available in a new ready-to-drink design.

The Bacardi Classic Cocktail Raspberry Mojito is made with Bacardi Superior Rum, natural lime and mint flavors and an extra burst of ripened raspberries.

“Expanding on the success of the Bacardi Classic Cocktail Mojito RTD introduced last year, the new raspberry flavored variety is the perfect addition to the brand’s ready-to-drink portfolio,” said Gordon Chisholm, brand director, Bacardi Flavored Rums. “After the original mint and lime mojito, the raspberry mojito is one of the most popular mojitos requested at bars and nightclubs, so offering a convenient, ready-to-serve raspberry mojito for home entertaining was a natural extension for the brand.

The Bacardi Classic Cocktail Raspberry Mojito package features a distinctive translucent bottle and a sleek, sophisticated design. The 15% alcohol-by-volume (30 proof) ready-to-drink cocktail is available in a 750-ml size as well as a 1.75-liter. It has a suggested retail price of $12.99 and $19.99.

For more information, please visit www.BACARDI.com.

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PepsiCo files suit against PBG and its board

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. PepsiCo announced Monday that it has filed suit in Delaware against the Pepsi Bottling Group and its directors.

The suit alleges that the defendants intentionally failed to provide notice of a recent PBG Board meeting to the PBG directors affiliated with PepsiCo. At that meeting, the directors in attendance claim to have adopted a “poison pill,” implemented certain new executive compensation arrangements and purported to amend the PBG bylaws in ways PepsiCo believes are detrimental to its rights as a shareholder. Because of the lack of notice and consideration by the full Board, PepsiCo alleges those actions by the board at the meeting are invalid.

PepsiCo further alleges that PBG and its Board breached their fiduciary duties to PBG shareholders by adopting the poison pill because it restricts PepsiCo’s rights as a PBG shareholder and constitutes an unreasonable and disproportionate response to PepsiCo’s constructive proposal. The suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.

On April 19, 2009, PepsiCo made a proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock that it does not already own in its two largest anchor bottlers, PBG and PepsiAmericas, at a value of $29.50 per share for PBG and $23.27 per share for PAS. PepsiCo currently owns 33% of the outstanding shares of PBG and 43% of the outstanding shares of PAS.

On May 4, 2009, PBG announced that its Board had rejected PepsiCo’s proposal. In addition, PBG also announced that its Board had approved adoption of a shareholder rights plan, commonly referred to as a “poison pill,” as well as retention arrangements for certain key employees and amendments to PBG’s bylaws regarding notice and informational requirements for shareholder actions.

PepsiCo reiterates its belief that its offers are full and fair and in the best interests of PBG, PAS and their respective shareholders.

For more information about PepsiCo’s proposal with respect to PBG and PAS, please access our website at http://www.transactioninfo.com/pepsico.

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