Earnings: PepsiCo | Costco

PepsiCo Posts 71 Percent Jump in Profit

NEW YORK - (AP) - PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), the snack food maker and No. 2 soft drink company, said Thursday its third-quarter profit jumped 71 percent, reflecting a more than 9 percent increase in sales and comparison with results that were depressed by a tax charge a year ago.

The company also said it expects to earn $2.98 per share for the full year, a penny below Wall Street estimates.

Profit for the quarter ended Sept. 9 grew to $1.48 billion, or 88 cents per share, from $864 million, or 51 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Revenue climbed 9.4 percent to $8.95 billion from $8.18 billion last year.

Analysts, on average, predicted a profit of 86 cents per share on revenue of just less than $8.8 billion.

Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo makes snacks through its Frito-Lay division while its Pepsi-Cola division is the nation's second biggest behind The Coca-Cola Co. (KO).

The quarterly earnings announcement is the first released with new chief executive Indra Nooyi in charge. Nooyi moved up from being chief financial officer to replace Steve Reinemund on Oct. 1.

She said the international division performed particularly well this quarter.

The tax charge a year ago was due to a repatriation of $7.5 billion of international earnings.

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Costco Beats Estimates

ISSAQUAH, Wash. - (AP) - Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), the nation's largest wholesale club operator, said Thursday fourth-quarter earnings rose 1 percent on income tax benefits, improved gasoline profitability at the end of the quarter and lower-than-expected workers' compensation costs.

Net income grew to $355.6 million, or 75 cents per share, from $354.7 million, or 73 cents per share, a year ago. The year-ago period included one less week, as well as several one-time items. Excluding items, the company earned 66 cents per share in the 2005 quarter.

Sales for the quarter ended Sept. 3 increased 19 percent to $19.50 billion from $16.37 billion last year. Same-store sales, or sales at warehouses open at least a year, increased 8 percent.

The results topped analysts' revised consensus estimates for profit of 73 cents per share on sales of $19.12 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Financial. In August, the company lowered its forecast for the fourth quarter, because markdowns on expensive items like furniture and big-screen televisions eroded gross profit margins.

"Several factors enabled earnings results to be better than we anticipated six weeks ago — recognition of income tax benefits in connection with previously established reserves, which more than offset a $14 million income tax charge; stronger-than-planned operating results in the final five weeks of the quarter; improved gasoline profitability in the final week of the quarter; and lower-than-expected costs related to workers' compensation and other expense accruals," said Richard Galanti, chief financial officer.

Net income for fiscal 2006 increased to $1.10 billion, or $2.30 per share, from $1.06 billion, or $2.18 per share, a year ago. Excluding items, Costco posted profit of $2.04 per share in fiscal 2005.

Costco currently operates 488 warehouses, including 359 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 68 in Canada, 18 in the United Kingdom, five in Korea, four in Taiwan, five in Japan and 29 in Mexico.

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