USA: The Pepsi Bottling Group Raises Earnings Estimates
For the year 2000:
-- Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization(EBITDA) growth of 15%, revised upward from an original projection of 10-12% growth
-- A projected increase of $35 million in operating free cash flow, to $185 million
-- An estimated 10-12% range of growth for EBITDA, up from an estimated 8-10%, with an annual gain in return on invested capital (ROIC) of at least 50 basis points
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Global Beverage, Food and Tobacco Conference today in New York City, Craig Weatherup, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for PBG, announced the new forecast numbers. Mr. Weatherup outlined plans for volume growth in the key beverage categories of colas, flavors and waters for the balance of 2000 and beyond. "We are focused on three volume drivers to accelerate our business growth. First, trademark Pepsi. I'm convinced that the exciting relaunch of the Pepsi Challenge, and programs such as this summer's Choose Your Music and partnership with Yahoo on PepsiStuff.com, are going to reignite growth. In the growing category of flavors, we are ready to play harder and you will see a lot more focus in the marketplace on these products. The third key to growth is the exploding water category. Aquafina is growing rapidly, and we have every intention of making it the clear market leader.
"We have every reason to be bullish about this business," continued Mr. Weatherup. "Half of the equation is a dynamic beverage industry and our powerhouse Pepsi brands. The other half is what we bring to the table at PBG -- our proven ability to execute and deliver consistent results. Based on all these factors, we look forward to continuing outstanding performance -- both in the short term and in the long term."
The Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. is the world's largest seller, manufacturer and distributor of Pepsi-Cola beverages. The company is headquartered in Somers, NY, and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "PBG."
Statements made in this press release that relate to future performance or financial results of the company are forward-looking statements which involve uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to materially differ. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward- looking statements, which speak only as to the date hereof. Accordingly, any forward-looking statement should be read in conjunction with the additional information about risks and uncertainties set forth in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission reports, including its annual report and Form 10-K for the year ended December 25, 1999.
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