Dr Pepper Snapple 4Q Boosted by Higher Prices

PLANO, Texas (AP) — Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter net income edged up 2 percent, bolstered by higher prices. But its performance missed Wall Street's expectations, and its 2013 earnings forecast fell short of analysts' estimates.

The soft drink company's stock dropped more than 5 percent in morning trading.

The company, which makes 7Up, Sunkist, Mott's and other drinks, earned $170 million, or 81 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That's up from $166 million, or 77 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Excluding an accounting measure, earnings were 82 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected 85 cents per share.

Shares of Dr. Pepper Snapple dropped $2.31, or 5.1 percent, to $43.02 in morning trading. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $37.36 to $46.37.

Quarterly revenue rose 1 percent to $1.48 billion from $1.46 billion. Wall Street's estimate was for $1.49 billion in revenue.

Bottler case sales volume was flat for carbonated soft drinks and non-carbonated beverages. The core five brands in carbonated soft drinks reported a 3 percent rise in volume, with Canada Dry posting a high-single digit percentage increase. Dr. Pepper volume dipped 1 percent as the prior-year period included the national rollout of Dr. Pepper Ten. 7Up volume was flat.

For non-carbonated beverages, Clamato volume jumped 34 percent. Aguafiel, Mott's and Snapple also reported volume increases. Hawaiian Punch reported an 8 percent volume drop.

Volume climbed 8 percent in the Caribbean and Mexico and was flat in the U.S. and Canada.

Packaged beverage sales were flat in the quarter, while sales of beverage concentrates rose 2 percent on price hikes. Sales of Latin America beverages increased 7 percent on higher sales volumes.

For the year, the Plano, Texas company earned $629 million, or $2.96 per share. In the previous year it earned $606 million, or $2.74 per share. Annual revenue increased 2 percent to $6 billion from $5.9 billion.

The company foresees 2013 adjusted earnings of $3.04 to $3.12 per share. Revenue is expected to climb about 3 percent. Based on 2012's $6 billion, this implies $6.18 billion.

Analysts forecast full-year earnings of $3.18 per share on revenue of $6.16 billion.

Dr. Pepper Snapple also increased its quarterly dividend 12 percent to 34 cents per share from 38 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on April 5 to shareholders of record on March 15.

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