Pepsi Bottling Group has posted a lift in full-year profit, despite slowing income in its final quarter.

The soft drinks bottler, which is the largest manufacturer, seller and distributor of Pepsi-Cola beverages, said yesterday (29 January) that net income for 2007 hit US$532m, up from $522m a year earlier. For the last three months of the year, however, net income fell to $81m from $133m in the corresponding quarter in 2006.

For the full-year, sales rose by 7% to $13.6bn, with operating income climbing to $1.07bn from $1.02bn in 2006.

In the fourth quarter, sales were up to $4.04bn from $3.76bn, while operating income slipped to $180m from $198m.

PBG highlighted a net after-tax charge of $11m due to restructuring charges, an asset disposal charge and tax items as impacting Q4 net income.

While sales volumes in the US in 2007 were flat, European volumes grew 4%, while in Mexico, volume declined by 2%. Net revenue per case, however, increased by 6% worldwide, with each of the company's geographic segments delivering rises.

Looking forward, PBG said it expects to achieve top-line growth in 2008 of about 6% to 7%. Operating profit in the year is expected to grow by between 4% and 6% for the year.

"We are confident that we have the right strategy in place to continue building on our proven track record of success," said PBG's president and CEO, Eric Foss. "With a clear plan for delivering profitable top-line growth in the US and Canada, a focus on fully leveraging the growth potential in Europe and particularly Russia, and a commitment to achieving sustainable profitability improvements in Mexico, we will be able to optimise our performance in 2008 and beyond."