The world's number two soft drink producer PepsiCo saw its fourth-quarter profit rise today, as volumes increased 4% on the back of new product launches.

The company reported fourth-quarter earnings of $805 million, or 46 cents per share, compared with $667 million, or 37 cents per share, a year earlier. And it said that in the long run it could sustain volume increases and net revenue growth at the mid-single digit percentage levels and earnings per share in the low double-digits.

Chairman and chief executive officer Steve Reinemund said: "In 2002 our portfolio of businesses complemented each other and performed very well overall. We're pleased to report very strong operating profit and earnings per share growth. Our margins expanded as a result of synergies from our merger with Quaker, as well as strong productivity across our divisions. We increased our market share across our key U.S. businesses, and our cash flow was extremely robust."

Reinemund continued: "Our businesses are fundamentally very healthy. We're focused on driving top line growth through innovation and by leveraging our strong brands and go-to-market systems. At the same time we are driving productivity improvements that will allow us to re-invest in the top line and continue to expand our margins. Looking forward, over the long run we believe that we can sustainably grow volume and net revenues in the mid-single digits and earnings per share in the low double-digits.

Volume continued to be solid, with total servings of Pepsi products sold worldwide up 4% for the quarter and for the full year. Servings of snacks worldwide grew 5% for the quarter and the year, while worldwide servings of beverages grew 3% for the quarter and 4% for the year.

Division net revenues for the fourth quarter rose 4% to $7.4 billion, and grew slightly faster than volume. For the full year, division net revenues also increased 4% to $25.0 billion. On a currency neutral basis, net revenues grew 5%, both for the quarter and full year.