Worldwide sales grew 0.5% during the fourth quarter to a record $3.7 billion. Operating profit as reported increased 13% to $761.6 million.
For the full year 2008, worldwide sales as reported increased 11% to $15.3 billion. In North America (19% of company sales) business grew 1.5% to a record level in the fourth quarter, while operating profit increased 5%, stated the report. In the U.S., new product launches are contributing to market share gains across categories.
In Latin America (27% of sales), sales grew 5.5% in the fourth quarter; while in Europe/South Pacific (23% of sales), sales declined 13%. Volume gains in Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Romania and Australia were more than offset by volume declines in France, Italy and Spain. Greater Asia/Africa sales (17% of sales) increased 1%. Volume gains in India, Russia and the rest of the CIS countries, Philippines, Vietnam, South Africa, the Gulf States/Saudi Arabia region, Morocco and Kenya more than offset volume declines in the Greater China region.