PepsiCo bets on higher soda sales as restaurants reopen

Sales of snacks under the company's Frito-Lay North America unit rose 4% in the quarter ended March 20

  
Bottles of Pepsi are pictured at a grocery store in Pasadena, California, U.S., July 11, 2017.

Bottles of Pepsi are pictured at a grocery store in Pasadena, California, U.S., July 11, 2017.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

PepsiCo Inc said on Thursday it expects organic revenue growth to pick up pace in the second quarter, betting on higher soda sales from restaurants that are gradually reopening following the speedy rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

A pandemic winner, the company has been benefiting from homebound consumers stocking up their pantries with salty chips, sodas and oatmeal and posted first-quarter revenue that beat Wall Street expectations.

"We are assuming that vaccination efforts will accelerate and population mobility will improve," Chief Executive Officer Ramon Laguarta said.

"This should benefit the foodservice channel as and when travel, lodging, dining, education, and entertainment trends accelerate."

PepsiCo said it expects the North American beverage business to "perform well" and the snack unit to "remain resilient." The company, however, stuck to its organic revenue growth and earnings forecast for the year.

Sales of snacks under the company's Frito-Lay North America unit rose 4% in the quarter ended March 20, while those of sodas and other beverages rose 5% in North America, its biggest market.

Net revenue rose 6.8% to $14.82 billion, above analysts' average estimate of $14.55 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net income attributable to the company rose to $1.71 billion, or $1.24 per share, from $1.34 billion, or 96 cents per share, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur) ((Nivedita.Balu@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 4822/ Twitter: @niveditabalu;))

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