JERUSALEM May 14 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)