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Colgate announces fourth-quarter results

NEW YORK — Colgate-Palmolive announced on Thursday that fourth-quarter worldwide sales rose 5%, as launches of the new Colgate Optic White and Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief toothpastes helped strengthen the brand’s toothpaste market share in the United States.

Worldwide net sales for the quarter totaled $4.17 billion, up 5%, compared with the year-ago period. Organic sales grew 6%.

Net income during the quarter totaled $590 million, or $1.21 per diluted share, compared with net income of $624 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter 2010. Excluding certain items in both periods, net income in fourth quarter 2011 was $634 million, up 2% versus fourth quarter 2010, and diluted earnings per share in fourth quarter 2011 was $1.30, up 5% versus fourth quarter 2010.

In North America, sales rose 3.5% and organic sales also rose 3.5% during the quarter.

Operating profit in North America decreased 11% in fourth quarter 2011 to $192 million, or 25.4% of net sales.

The launch of Colgate Optic White and Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief toothpastes and the relaunch of Colgate Total toothpaste helped strengthen Colgate’s position in toothpaste, with its share of that market reaching 35.9% year to date, up 0.6 share points versus a year ago.

The company noted that new launches hitting store shelves now include Speed Stick Power deodorants and Irish Spring Clear and Fresh Skin Body body wash.

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