Mexico-based bakery giant Grupo Bimbo has seen fourth-quarter earnings jump by over 31% on the back of higher sales.

Bimbo, which has operations in the US and Latin America, booked net income of MXN1.3bn (US$84.6m) for the three months to the end of December - a rise of 31.1% on the year.

Net sales increased by 15.1% to MXN22.2bn thanks in part to an "improved sales mix", Bimbo said on Thursday ( 26 February).

Higher prices and product launches drove a 10.1% rise in Mexico during the quarter, while similar action s also led to a 22.9% jump in sales in the US during the last three months of 2008.

A double-digit rise in sales volumes and contribution s in new acquisitions led to a 32.2% increase in Bimbo's Latin American revenues.

Bimbo's operating income during the quarter climbed 26.6% to MXN2.5bn thanks to higher earnings in the US and Mexico. Operating income in Latin America, however, fell 9.5% to MXN101m.

Looking at 2008 as a whole, Bimbo saw annual revenues rise 12.2% to MXN82.32bn. Net income climbed 11.5% to MXN4.3bn. Operating income was up 12.7% to MXN7.33bn.