PepsiAmericas Inc., the second largest bottler of PepsiCo soft drinks brands, posted a profit of $50.2m, representing 33 cents a share, for the third quarter, up by 53.5% from $32.7m, or 21 cents a share, in the same period last year. Analysts had been predicting profits in the range of 32 cents to 33 cents per share.

The company said total sales rose by 4.2% from $847.1m to $882.5m in the third quarter, with domestic sales up by 3.8% and international sales 6.3% higher.

"Our third quarter results reflect strong volume in both domestic and international markets," said the PepsiAmericas' chairman and CEO, Robert Pohlad. "We continued to implement our strategic priorities, including driving top-line domestic volume growth and steady improvement in profitability internationally."

Pohlad said the company was confident of reaching its full-year 2002 earnings target of $1.00 to $1.02 per share. PepsiAmericas said it expects full-year domestic volume growth to come in at the higher end of its predicted range of 2.5% to 3%, while it expects international volumes to grow by 4% to 4.5%.