Soft drinks bottler Pepsi Bottling Group has survived a slip in net sales to report an increase in net profits for the third quarter of 2009.

Net sales for the three months to the end of September slipped by 5% to US$3.6bn, compared to the same period of 2008, due to weak volume sales in some markets and unfavourable currency rates, Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) said today (6 October).

Volume sales fell by 2% for the period, with 1% drops in US, Canada and Mexico and a 5% slip in Europe.

However, the bottler reported net profits of $254m for the quarter, up from $231m last year.

The group predicted that full-year earnings per share would be at the high end of its guidance range of $2.30 to $2.40.

"We remain confident in our full-year earnings outlook and we're on track to deliver a very good year despite the challenging macroeconomic environment," said Eric Foss, PBG chairman and CEO.

Foss hailed the bottler's progress on cost savings, adding that the group is set to exceed its target of $265m in cost reductions for 2009.

During the quarter, PBG and fellow bottler PepsiAmericas agreed to be swallowed by parent firm PepsiCo, for a combined $7.8bn.

To read the full third quarter announcement, click here.

An update, following the company's conference call, appears here.