updated 10/11/2007 8:53:25 AM ET 2007-10-11T12:53:25

PepsiCo Inc., the huge beverage and snack foods maker, said Thursday its third-quarter profit rose 17 percent on double-digit growth in international sales.

The earnings results from the world’s second biggest soft drink company, which also makes Frito-Lay snacks, beat Wall Street’s estimate and its shares rose nearly 2 percent in premarket trading.

PepsiCo earned $1.74 billion, or $1.06 per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 8, up from $1.49 billion, or 89 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 11 percent to $10.17 billion from $9.13 billion last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had predicted earnings of 96 cents per share on revenue of $9.91 billion.

The earnings estimates typically exclude one-time items. The company said that excluding a $115 million tax benefit, it generated core earnings of 99 cents per share.

In addition to Pepsi beverages and Frito-Lay snacks, the company owns Gatorade and Tropicana drinks and the Quaker foods business. PepsiCo is the second biggest soft drink company after The Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta.

The company reiterated its full-year earnings per share forecast of at least $3.35.

Division operating profit grew 10 percent.

The fast-growing PepsiCo International unit reported operating profit grew 19 percent on revenue growth of 22 percent, which was boosted by favorable foreign currency comparisons.

That helped the company as sales volume declined 2 percent for Quaker Foods North America and 1 percent for PepsiCo Beverages North America.

Sales of carbonated soft drinks in North America declined 3 percent while non-carbonated beverages grew 2 percent, led by Lipton ready-to-drink teas. Sales volumes of Gatorade, juice and juice drinks fell by a mid-single digit rate, while Aquafina water volume grew by a mid-single digit rate.

“All of the Company’s operating divisions successfully navigated through an environment of higher input costs,” Chief Executive Indra Nooyi said in a statement. “Our third-quarter performance was very strong.”

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