The Pepsi Bottling Group, PepsiCo's largest bottler, announced that net income had increased from $4 million to $13 million in the fourth quarter against the same period last year.

However, net income had been boosted by a one-off $25 million tax benefit for the year due to reductions in Canadian income tax rates.

The strong performance was also attributed to strong sales for new Pepsi products including Mountain Dew Code Red, Diet Sierra Mist and Pepsi Twist. "Consistent performance fueled our momentum in the marketplace as we increased both our share and margins," said Craig Weatherup, company chairman.

The company, which operates in the US, Canada, Greece, Russia and Spain, also issued an upbeat forecast for the coming year.

Volumes rose by 2% during the final quarter while international volumes were up by 4%. The group predicted volumes would rise by 3% this year. Annual net income in 2001 was $305m against $229m the year before.