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PepsiCo sees strong annual profit as snacks, sodas thrive in pandemic

Sales of snacks under the company's Frito-Lay North America unit, rose 7% in the quarter

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PepsiCo Inc forecast full-year profit above market expectations on Thursday after a rebound in soda sales and increased demand for the company's snacks during the Covid-19 crisis helped drive quarterly sales higher.

The packaged food company beat revenue and profit estimates for the third quarter, sending its shares up 2 per cent in premarket trading.

People spending more time working from home and taking online classes has led to a rise in demand for salty snacks, boosting demand for PepsiCo’s Tostitos, Cheetos and Doritos from households across North America.

Sales of snacks under the company’s Frito-Lay North America unit, rose 7 per cent in the quarter, while higher demand for breakfast foods led to a 6 per cent rise at its Quaker Foods business.

“Both FritoLay and Quaker Foods continued to deliver robust growth as at home consumption trends have remained strong despite the measured reopening of economies and activities in certain areas, since May,” Chief Executive Officer Ramon Laguarta.

Higher demand for the company’s Starbucks branded coffee and energy drinks as well as low calorie versions of Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Pepsi helped boost revenue of PepsiCo’s North America beverage business by 6 per cent.

That helped offset a slump in sales at restaurants, theaters and stadiums, which has been hurting the unit’s revenue since the start of the pandemic.

Overall net revenue rose more than 5 per cent to $18.09 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 5, beating analysts’ expectations of $17.23 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

It forecast full-year core earnings of $5.50 per share, above expectations of $5.36 per share.

In the reported quarter, net profit attributable to the company rose 9.1 per cent to $2.29 billion, or $1.65 per share. Excluding items, the company earned $1.66 per share, beating market expectation of $1.49 per share.