The world’s leading chewing gum maker, Wrigley, has posted fourth-quarter profits of US$107.8m, compared with $89.9m a year earlier, beating analysts’ estimates.

Wrigley said its revenue was up 16% to $739.3m from $638m a year earlier, including a 19% increase in international sales. The company said that even without foreign currency effects revenue would have risen 12%.

Bill Wrigley Jr, the company’s president and CEO, attributed strong sales and profits to new product initiatives, reported the Associated Press.

For the full year 2002, net earnings were $401.5m, compared to $363m in 2001. Revenues were up 14% to $2.75bn from $2.4bn.