UPDATE 1-PepsiAmericas Q4 profit up, sees FY08 below Street view

Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:29am EST

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Jan 30 (Reuters) - PepsiAmericas PAS.N, the No. 2 Pepsi bottler, reported a 60 percent jump in fourth-quarter net income helped by acquisitions, volume growth in Central Europe and a weaker U.S. dollar, but forecast fiscal 2008 profit below Wall Street view.

The company forecast fiscal 2008 earnings per share of $1.77 a share to $1.83 a share, short of analysts' expectations of $1.89 a share for the same period.

Minneapolis-based PepsiAmericas has followed a strategy of inorganic growth and has pursued deals in Central and Eastern Europe in an effort to capture a share of the rapidly growing markets in these regions.

The company earned $42 million, or 32 cents a share, for the quarter, versus $26.1 million, or 20 cents a share, a year earlier. The current quarter included a charge of 1 cent a share.

Analysts were expecting a profit of 33 cents a share, before special items, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $1.1 billion, in line with Wall Street estimates.

Volume growth in the United States continued to decline this quarter but a net pricing growth of 3.8 percent helped sales growth. Central European volume grew 56.1 percent.

Net sales in the U.S., which were about 71 percent of the company's total for the quarter, rose 4 percent to $812.2 million.

Shares of the company closed at $28.88 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Vikram Subhedar in Bangalore; Editing by Amitha Rajan)

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