McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE: MKC), yesterday reported record sales and earnings per share for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2000. Earnings per share for the year ended November 30, 2000 were $1.98 compared to $1.43 for 1999. Excluding special charges and an accounting change, earnings per share increased 18% to $1.99 from $1.69. Sales for fiscal year 2000 increased 6% to $2.1 billion. Excluding foreign exchange and the August 31 acquisition of Ducros, sales increased 4%. Each of the Company's three business segments -- consumer, industrial and packaging -- contributed to this sales growth. Gross profit margin ended the year at 37.9% versus 35.7% in 1999. This was accomplished with stronger sales growth in the consumer business which has a higher margin, cost reduction efforts across all business segments, the shift to more value-added, higher margin products within the industrial business and the addition of the Ducros business. McCormick's unconsolidated businesses grew sales 15% and contributed income of $18.2 million, an increase of 36% versus 1999.