Worldwide growth helps drive 21% gain at Wrigley

by Eric Schroeder
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CHICAGO — Growth in international shipments, especially in Europe and Asia, helped drive an earnings improvement at the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. Net earnings for the second quarter ended June 30 were $169,813,000, equal to 62c per share on the common stock, up 21% from $140,638,000, or 51c per share, during the same period of last year.

Net sales were up 14% at $1,377,780,000, which compared with $1,206,053,000 during the same quarter of last year. More than half of the sales gain was attributed to shipment growth across all regions, particularly EMEAI and Asia, as well as incremental contribution from the A. Korkunov chocolate acquisition in Russia.

"Our focused investments in key geographies — in terms of product innovation and brand support — are producing excellent results," said Bill Perez, president and chief executive officer. "All major regions contributed to our growth in the quarter, particularly Europe and Asia. Our strong first-half performance and our ongoing focus on operational efficiency puts us is an excellent position to make the necessary investments in second-half product and marketing initiatives to keep our business growing, while still achieving full-year results within our long-term earnings growth objective of 9% to 11%."

Net sales for the North American market were $452,110,000, which was up 3% despite a 1% decline in volume. Operating income for the region totaled $95,520,000, up 11% from $86,005,000. Strength in Orbit, Eclipse and Lifesavers was partially offset by softer performance from Extra and the sugar stick brands during the quarter. Continued strong growth for Altoids chocolate-dipped mints was offset by lower sales for other Altoid products.

For the EMEAI region, primarily Europe but also the Middle East, Africa and India, sales increased 23% to $667,483,000 on volume growth of 12%. Operating income in the EMEAI region was $188,626,000, up 19%.

Sales in Asia were up 16% to $188,707,000 with a volume growth of 15%. Operating income was $50,766,000, up 7%.

For the six months ended June 30, net earnings were $312,514,000, equal to $1.13 per share, up from $252,523,000, or 91c per share in the first half of fiscal 2006. Sales were $2,631,826,000, up 15% from $2,280,941,000.

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