Price rises helped soft drinks bottler PepsiAmericas to a 10% revenue increase for its full-year, despite a shrinking US market and a slowdown in the fourth quarter.

Revenue rose by 10% to US$4.9bn for the 12 months ended 31 December, although growth slowed to 3% in the fourth quarter, PepsiAmericas said today (4 February).

Net income for the full-year rose by 6.7% to $226.4m, but fell in the fourth quarter to $37.8m, compared to $42m in the same period of 2007.

Price rises across all markets drove revenue growth in the fourth quarter, as worldwide volumes dipped by 1%, PepsiAmericas said.

PepsiAmericas chairman and CEO Robert Pohlad praised the bottler's "solid performance" in a "challenging global economic environment", but warned that the group would need to cut more costs in 2009.

Unfavourable currency rates caused revenue to fall by 2% in Central and Eastern Europe during the fourth quarter, the group said.
Volumes were most under pressure in the US, slipping 2.7% for the 12 months, and 7% in the fourth quarter, in a market where several soft drinks producers and bottlers have warned of weakening consumer demand.

In the US, fourth quarter non-carbonated drinks volumes slipped almost twice as fast as carbonated, with PepsiAmericas reporting declines of 14% and 6% respectively. US revenue rose by 5% to $849m for the three-month period, however.

In the group's outlook, Pohlad said: "We begin 2009 with a pragmatic view of the challenges ahead, anticipating unfavourable foreign exchange and slowing global consumer demand."

"Our plans include execution of disciplined pricing, accelerated productivity initiatives and specific cost reduction programmes, and expansion of our portfolio with new products and innovation."

Unfavourable currency rates are likely to see net sales slip by 2-3% for the year, the bottler estimated. Exchange rates are also likely to produce a like-for-like profit decline of 30% in the firm's Central and Eastern Europe markets.