PepsiCo, Inc.: An Earnings Preview

PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) will report earnings on Thursday. Here's what you need to watch for in the company's results.

Earnings expectations
The first issue that needs to be addressed is whether the beverage and snack food giant met Wall Street's expectations. Analysts peg profits for PepsiCo at $1.01 per share this quarter. PepsiCo booked earnings per share of $1.09 in the same quarter last year, so the company expects deterioration in profit growth. PepsiCo reported nearly $20 billion in sales for the fourth quarter of last year and $65 billion for full-year 2012.

Revenue growth
PepsiCo's third-quarter 2013 organic revenues grew 3.3%, yet beverage sales in North America were down 2%. Worldwide snack and beverage volumes were up 3% and 1%, respectively, in Q3. Management expects full-year organic revenue growth to be in line with the company's long-term mid-single-digit growth target.

Domestic carbonated soft drink sales have stalled out in the past decade, with both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola feeling the negative effects. Yet 65% of PepsiCo's beverage business comes from its noncarbonated offerings. As more consumers reach for health-conscious beverages, this segment shows growth potential for both cola giants, especially in developed markets. PepsiCo holds the Aquafina, Naked Juice, and Tropicana brands in this segment. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola added Dasani water, Minute Maid, PowerAde, and Honest Tea to its noncarbonated beverage portfolio in recent years.

But unlike Coca-Cola, PepsiCo also boasts an absolutely dominant snack food business. In fact, PepsiCo holds roughly 38% of the domestic salty snack market. In the third quarter, the company posted 14% organic growth in Latin American foods and 5% growth at Frito-Lay North America.

Outcomes from restructuring efforts
In an effort to drive growth, PepsiCo streamlined its product portfolio and increased its marketing efforts in 2012. Initially, its stock price hadn't popped as a result of the company's restructuring. However, PepsiCo's investments now appear to be translating into top- and bottom-line growth, with the company on track to deliver $900 million in productivity savings in 2013 and a targeted $3 billion in 2012 through 2014.

Yet some investors feel these efforts haven't paid off enough. Last year, activist investor Nelson Peltz pressured CEO Indra Nooyi to split PepsiCo's snack food and beverage businesses. So far, she's discounted Peltz's calls, claiming PepsiCo's businesses complement one another and create synergies. For now, PepsiCo management is considering restructuring its North American beverage business. But look for details from Nooyi as to whether the company will make more extensive changes.

Foolish final thoughts
When PepsiCo releases its fourth-quarter results on Thursday, I'll be watching to see exactly if and how the company achieved sales growth in both its snack food and beverage businesses. I'll also be looking for evidence of productivity savings from the company's restructuring efforts and plans for future changes.

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