The soft drink bottler PepsiAmericas today reported first quarter 2004 net income of $20.5m, compared to US$4.9m as worldwide operating income grew approximately 88% to US$50.1m driven by strong volume and pricing.

A 3.1% increase in worldwide volume also contributed to the strong top line results.

"Our performance in the first quarter of 2004 continues the momentum that we began to achieve in the second half of 2003," said chairman and chief executive officer Robert C. Pohlad. "Our top line growth reflects contributions from volume and price improvement."
On a worldwide basis, the first quarter gross profit increased 9.7%, thanks to improvements in worldwide average net selling prices and volume growth.

In the US, operating income improved 47.6% to US$59.2m. Net sales increased 7.8%  to US$636.3m.

The increase in net sales was a reflection of improvement in both average net selling prices and volume, the company said.

"This is a good start to 2004, and we expect our top line performance to continue," said Robert C. Pohlad. "Rising cost of goods will be a factor that we will continue to monitor as 2004 unfolds."

The company increased its full year 2004 EPS growth outlook to 9-11%,

On a full-year basis, PepsiAmericas continues to expect worldwide volume growth of approximately 1%. Overall net pricing is anticipated to be in the 3-4% range.