US baby food Mead Johnson booked “solid” full-year results today (28 January) and upped its earnings guidance for 2010.

For the year ended 31 December, net income attributable to shareholders amounted to US$339.6m, up slightly from $393.9m in 2008.

While 2009 was adversely affected by $49.3m in higher interest expense and higher specified costs, the firm said that this was more than offset by the benefit of a lower effective tax rate and improved operating performance compared with 2008.

For the 12-month period, however, net sales totalled $2.83bn, down 2% on the previous year. Sales benefited from price, which was more than offset by foreign exchange and lower volume.

EBIT decreased to $679.6m, down from $695.7m a year earlier. The figure was reduced by a net $81.1m of costs associated with an IPO, a split-off transaction and “other specified costs”.

"Despite headwinds from higher commodity costs and the overlap in infrastructure costs, we are confident of producing another year of earnings growth," CEO Stephen Golsby said. "We are mindful, however, that we operate in a challenging and uncertain economic environment. We are initiating 2010 non-GAAP EPS guidance in the range of $2.30 to $2.40, up from $2.23 per share in 2009.”

For the fourth-quarter, net earnings attributable to shareholders totalled $64m, compared with $46.4m in 2008. Net sales for the period edged up 1% to reach $714.4m.