Investors picked up shares of soda-and-snack giant PepsiCo
PepsiCo's latest growth figures are impressive. First-quarter revenue rose 10% as, the company said, "performance across all businesses [was] strong." Now PepsiCo says it expects to hit the high end of the full-year earnings per share (EPS) guidance it provided in early February, projecting net income of $2.29 per share.
What Pepsi has decided to do with all that cash represents classic big-company behavior. Pepsi plans to repurchase $7 billion worth of shares over the next three years, following the anticipated completion of the current $5 billion buyback plan. It is also bumping up its annual dividend payout from $0.64 to $0.92 per share. The larger a company gets, the more difficult it can be to find outlets for its cash that don't threaten to derail a business' focus.
PepsiCo has pulled off some solid deals in recent years, grabbing Gatorade from the Quaker Oats stable, snapping up independent drinkster South Beach Beverage, and swallowing Seagram's Tropicana line. Those pickups have helped turn PepsiCo into a company with nearly $27 billion in 2003 revenues -- nearly as big as Coca-Cola
As PepsiCo gets bigger, however, it will become more difficult for it to snag brands that will have a real impact, even with its recent history of massive free cash flows. New products and brand variations can help as the company identifies trends -- it was juice, then water, and now no-carb drinks, it seems.
Given all that, PepsiCo appears to be doing everything it can to maintain strong profit growth and keep investors interested. Its recent success at both makes it easy to understand why the company's shares have outperformed Coca-Cola, Cadbury-Schweppes, and the Standard & Poor's 500 over the last five years.
Stock up on pop and chips and settle in for some chat on our PepsiCo discussion board.
Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story.