Wm. Wrigley income up 2% on 13% increase in sales

by Eric Schroeder
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CHICAGO — Net income at The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. in the year ended Dec. 31, 2006, was $529,377,000, equal to $1.91 per share on the common stock, up 2% from $517,252,000, or $1.84 per share, in fiscal 2005. Net sales for the year totaled $4,686,011,000 up 13% from a year ago.

In the fourth quarter, net income rose 37% to $128,825,000, or 46c per share, boosted by an 11% gain in sales to $1,224,292,000.

Wrigley said sales increases in the year were primarily driven by worldwide shipment growth of 8% for the quarter and 15% for the full year. The increased volume was driven by the solid performance of Wrigley’s core gum and confectionery business around the world, particularly in EMEAI and Asia.

"We delivered solid results overall in 2006 and demonstrated the strength of our business," said Bill Wrigley Jr., executive chairman. "Excluding one-time restructuring charges and option costs, we delivered earnings per share growth in the 9% to 11% range for the seventh consecutive year, and we did so with double-digit sales and volume growth while completing the integration of a major acquisition, realigning our supply chain, and addressing increased competition in some key geographies."

Wrigley said sales in North America were up 14% for the year, with the newly acquired confectionery brands contributing a significant portion of the gain. The balance of the gain came from Wrigley’s U.S. core gum and mint business, which grew by 3%, led by sugar-free gum and Doublemint Twins mints.

Wrigley also announced it has closed the acquisition of its 80% stake of A. Korkunov, the second largest player in the Russian premium boxed-chocolate segment. Wrigley said it expects the acquisition to have "a relatively neutral impact" on financial performance, but to be a positive contributor over time.

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