The Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. (PBG) today (7 September) affirmed its forecast for third quarter diluted earnings per share (EPS) and projected that its results will likely reach the high end of its guidance range of US$0.76 to US$0.78.

For the full year, diluted EPS are projected to be US$1.82 to US$1.88, with worldwide volume growth of about 3% and a net revenue per case increase of 3%. The full-year volume projection excludes the impact of the 53rd week.

During the third quarter, which closed on 3 September, PBG's constant territory worldwide physical case volume grew by 5%. Physical case volume both in the US and Canada grew by 4% in the quarter. PBG's businesses in Europe and Mexico each had robust volume growth in the third quarter, up by 8% and 7% respectively.

In a statement, John T. Cahill, PBG chairman and CEO, said: "We delivered strong topline growth in all of our territories with the US pricing environment remaining positive. In the US, volume was driven largely by Aquafina growth as well as impressive gains in Tropicana and Lipton. Our quarter just ended over the weekend and the financial books have not been closed.

"We do expect that our strong worldwide volume performance will be offset by higher than anticipated costs, but we are confident that we will deliver at the high end of our third quarter EPS guidance."

PBG is scheduled to issue its complete third quarter 2005 earnings results on 27 September.