Earnings, sales ease at Dr Pepper

by Eric Schroeder
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PLANO, TEXAS — Net income at Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. fell 33% to $89 million, equal to 35c per share on the common stock, in the first quarter ended March 31, down from $132 million, or 52c per share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding a separation-related foreign deferred tax chare of 5c per share in the current year and a net gain of 15c per share from a distribution deal in the prior year, earnings per share in the most recent quarter were 40c, up from 37c in the year-ago period.

Sales for the first quarter were $1,248 million, down from $1,260 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

“Despite the carryover of weak consumer trends, an abnormally wet and cold January and February, and our toughest quarter of the year, our portfolio demonstrated resilience with BCS (Beverage Concentrates) up 3%,” said Larry Young, president and chief executive officer. Mr. Young added Dr Pepper completed its licensing agreements with PepsiCo, Inc. during the quarter, opened its new West coast facility and began its share repurchase program.

Among its carbonated soft drink products, Dr Pepper volume rose 3% during the quarter, while Squirt grew 8% and Crush jumped 22%. Volume of the company’s “Core 4” brands — 7UP, Sunkist, A&W and Canada Dry — fell 2%, dragged down by a double-digit decline in Sunkist and single-digit decline in 7UP and A&W. Canada Dry grew double digits during the quarter.

Non-carbonated beverages were led by 17% volume growth in Snapple, which benefited from demand for premium and value teas. Mott’s volume rose 14%, while Hawaiian Punch climbed 7%.
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