SodaStream Q1 profit slides, still sees improvement in 2014

JERUSALEM Wed May 14, 2014 9:07am EDT

JERUSALEM May 14 (Reuters) - SodaStream International , an Israeli maker of home soda machines, reported a sharp drop in quarterly profit, weighed down by a U.S. marketing campaign and other expenses.

SodaStream, which is reportedly in talks to sell a stake in the company, said on Wednesday it earned 8 cents per diluted share, compared with 57 cents a year earlier.

Revenue edged up 0.5 percent to $118.2 million, led by gains in Western Europe and Asia-Pacific, which offset a 28 percent drop in U.S. sales.

The company was forecast to earn 1 cent a share on revenue of $118 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Operating expenses grew to $59.5 million from $50.5 million.

SodaStream said it still expects full year 2014 revenue to rise about 15 percent to $562.7 million, below analysts' expectations of $639.3 million, and net income to gain 3 percent to $42 million - in line with expectations of $41.22 million.

SodaStream earlier this year was thrown into the spotlight of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when it hired actress Scarlett Johansson to appear in its Super Bowl commercial.

Johannson had served as an ambassador for Oxfam, a British charity, and it objected to her connection with SodaStream, which operates a large plant outside a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The actress opted to sever her ties with Oxfam and continue her business relationship with SodaStream.

SodaStream said the factory, which employs Palestinian and Israeli workers, is a model of peaceful cooperation. Oxfam, which is active in the West Bank, noted that Jewish settlements are deemed illegal under international law.

A month ago, Israeli media said SodaStream was in talks to sell a 10 to 16 percent stake in the company to a large strategic entity. The Calcalist financial newspaper identified the potential investor as either PepsiCo Inc, Dr Pepper Snapple Group or Starbucks Co.

Coca-Cola has bought 16 percent of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc and it will help launch Green Mountain's new cold drink machine. (Reporting by Steven Scheer)

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