Pepsi will be fine 'regardless of the economic environment,' CFO says

PepsiCo's strong third quarter surprised more than a few folks on Wall Street bracing for a gloomy read on the economically challenged consumer not unlike recent commentary from Nike and FedEx.

That is surprised everyone but PepsiCo's long-time vice chairman and CFO Hugh Johnston.

"Historically we have done well as we have moved into recessions," Johnston said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "A 16% [sales] growth rate for PepsiCo is an extraordinary number. But that said, we do think that we will continue to perform pretty well regardless of the economic environment."

The beverage and snacks giant saw third quarter organic sales growth — which strips out the impact of volatile currency fluctuations — surge 16% as price increases to combat inflation were passed through successfully. PepsiCo also saw earnings increase 14% from a year ago.

Sales beat analyst estimates in all business segments. The company also lifted its full year core sales growth to 12% from 10%. It now sees earnings growth of 10%, up from a prior estimate of 8%.

"While it was anticipated that PepsiCo could beat and raise this quarter, we think the magnitude will still have been a positive surprise," Barclays analyst Lauren Lieberman wrote in a flash note to clients. "Pricing drove the P&L [financials], up a remarkable 17%, which drove upside to sales, operating margins and EPS."

Here is how PepsiCo performed compared to Wall Street estimates:

  • Net Sales: $21.97 billion vs. $20.81 billion

    • Organic Sales Growth: +16% vs. +9.1%

    • Frito Lay North America Sales: $5.56 billion vs. $5.28 billion

    • Quaker Foods North America Sales: $713 million vs. $684.4 million

    • PepsiCo North America Beverages Sales: $6.6 billion vs. $6.36 billion

    • Europe Sales: $3.6 billion vs. $3.37 billion

    • Latin America Sales: $2.5 billion vs. $2.31 billion

    • Africa, Middle East Sales: $1.7 billion vs. $1.67 billion

    • Asia Pacific Sales: $1.2 billion vs. $1.15 billion

  • Core EPS: $1.97 vs. $1.84

  • PepsiCo shares surged 4% as of afternoon trading. The company's ticker page was the most visited on Yahoo Finance.

    Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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