US-based spice group McCormick has said it expects solid rises in sales and profits in 2013, albeit at a slower pace than in 2012.

McCormick said today (24 January) that net sales for the 12 months to the end of December rose by 8.6% to US$4bn, marking a doubling of group sales in the past decade.

Net profits increased by 9% to $407.8m, although operating profits trailed slightly with a 7% increase to $578m.

The slower rise in operating profits represented higher raw materials costs, which put gross profit margins under pressure.

The results put McCormick in a buoyant mood heading into 2013, although it said its pace of growth for the next 12 months as a whole is likely to be slower than that in 2012.

It predicted 2013 net sales will rise by between 3% and 5% in local currency. However, with costs expected to increase more slowly than last year, earnings per share should rise a little more quickly than sales, by between 4% and 6%, the group said.

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“Consumer demand for flavor continues to grow,” said the firm’s president, chairman and CEO, Alan Wilson. “The spice and seasoning category is growing at rates from 3% to 8% in our major markets, and our brand leadership, product innovation and marketing programs have us well-positioned to meet this demand.”