PepsiCo profit seen up on international growth

By Martinne Geller

NEW YORK (Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc <PEP.N> is expected to report higher quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by growth in emerging markets.

The company sells variations of its Pepsi-Cola drinks, Frito-Lay snacks and Quaker oatmeal products in many countries around the world, which has helped insulate its results from a slowdown in North America.

Analysts on average are expecting the company to report second-quarter earnings of $1.21 per share on revenue of $16.4 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Standard & Poor's Equity Research analyst Esther Kwon expects the same general trends for PepsiCo as those reported this week by rival Coca-Cola Co <KO.N>, whose shares rose to a 12-year high after results beat expectations.

"North America is just bumping along. The real growth is driven by international," Kwon said in an interview. Even though Pepsi-Cola just dropped to the No. 3 brand of soft drink in the United States, behind Coca-Cola and Diet Coke, Kwon said "the real investment story is the ability for these companies to grow overseas."

She has a "buy" rating on Pepsi and a "strong buy" on Coke, which has a larger international footprint and stronger overall returns due to its concentration in beverages.

Analysts will be keen to hear PepsiCo's comments about raw material costs and U.S. price increases meant to offset some of the margin squeeze.

Consumer Edge Research analyst Bill Pecoriello said Coke's reiterated plan to raise prices by 3 to 4 percent in the rest of the year means that its net increases could be below those of Pepsi.

"PepsiCo will have to decide whether to settle for less pricing or meaningful share losses," Pecoriello wrote in a note.

(Editing by Phil Berlowitz)