Pepsi India bottler beats profit view on higher soda demand, price hikes

Cases of Pepsi are displayed for sale in Carlsbad

CHENNAI (Reuters) - India's Varun Beverages reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Monday as the Pepsi bottler benefited from price increases and demand for its pricier drinks, including the Sting energy brand.

The company, which has been making and bottling PepsiCo-branded drinks for three decades, said profit for the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31 more than quadrupled to 747.5 million rupees ($9.06 million) from a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 593.40 million rupees, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Revenue from operations surged nearly 28% to 22.57 billion rupees.

Demand for beverages, especially single-serve bottles, has bounced back from pandemic lows as people returned to old routines of visiting restaurants and bars, pushing the sales of Pepsi, Mirinda, and Mountain Dew higher.

Varun has been cashing in on this demand, expanding the distribution of its beverages while selectively raising prices to counter the high cost of raw materials, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic used in packaging.

The company's board also approved a final dividend of 1 rupee per share, taking the payout for the year to 3.50 rupees.

Shares of Varun, which more than doubled in value last year, climbed as much as 7.3% on Monday.

($1 = 82.4710 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)