<!--:es-->Pepsi Bottling posts higher-than-expected profit<!--:-->

Pepsi Bottling posts higher-than-expected profit

NEW YORK – Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. (NYSE:PBG – news) on Tuesday posted better-than-expected profit as strong sales of Aquafina bottled water and Lipton Ice Tea brands in North America offset rising raw material and fuel costs. The largest bottler of Pepsi drinks also affirmed its previously announced 2006 earnings outlook.

The company posted net income of $34 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with $39 million, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier.

On that basis, earnings were 3 cents ahead of analysts’ average forecast of 11 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.