A "strong" fourth quarter, buoyed by price increases, currency exchange and an extra selling week, has boosted full-year sales and earnings at Campbell Soup Co.

The company today (12 September) booked underlying net earnings of US$96m for the fourth quarter to 3 August, up from $53m a year earlier.

On a reported basis, including charges linked to the sales of assets in Australia and the closing of production facilities in Australia and Canada, net earnings reached $89m, against $61m in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007.

For the quarter, turnover rose 13% to $1.7bn, as sales rose at home and abroad.

The fourth-quarter results drove a 3.4% rise in annual underlying net earnings to $797m. Revenue was up 8% to $7.99bn.

"We delivered a very strong quarter, including in our US soup business, to complete a challenging year in which we faced unprecedented cost inflation," said president and CEO Doug Conant. "Our more focused portfolio strategy is paying off, as we grew sales and earnings for the year in each of our three core categories - simple meals, baked snacks and healthy beverages."

Looking ahead to fiscal 2009, Conant said Campbell would meet its targets for sales and underlying net earnings per share but that operating profit would be hit by higher spending in the US, Russia and China.

"We expect our continuing operations, excluding the negative impact of one less week in the fiscal year and recent divestitures, to deliver sales growth in excess of our long-term target range of between 3 and 4%," Conant said.

"We expect to deliver EBIT growth, excluding items impacting comparability, slightly below our long-term target growth rate of between 5 and 6%, reflecting the impact of one less week in the fiscal year, higher marketing spending behind increased innovation in the US and increased investment spending in Russia and China."

Conant added: "Consistent with our long-term target growth rate, we expect to deliver adjusted net earnings per share growth between 5 and 7% from the fiscal 2008 adjusted base of $2.09."