Sparks-based spice maker McCormick & Co. Inc. on Thursday said earnings climbed 8 percent in the fourth quarter, helped by acquisitions and cost cutting.
Net income rose to $121.5 million, or 87 cents per share, in the three months that ended Nov. 30, compared with $111.2 million, or 62 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The manufacturer said it expects strong sales and earnings in the current fiscal year thanks to new products and boosts in marketing.
The results ended a strong fiscal year for the spice maker that included its biggest holiday marketing campaign ever. In the fourth quarter, consumer business sales in the Americas grew 5 percent, offsetting a decline in industrial sales. Total sales grew 2 percent in the fourth quarter, McCormick said.
"Acquisitions are an integral part of our growth strategy, and in 2009, much of our sales growth and margin improvement were led by Lawry's," which McCormick acquired in July 2008, said Alan D. Wilson, McCormick's chairman, president and chief executive officer.
Wilson said the company cut $42 million in expenses, allowing it to boost marketing for leading brands by 15 percent. In the coming year, he said he expects sales to be driven by a line up of new products with a focus on innovative flavors, convenience and value.