updated 1/25/2006 9:33:57 AM ET 2006-01-25T14:33:57

Consumer products company Colgate-Palmolive Co. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit rose 24 percent, lifted by higher prices and higher volume.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Colgate reported net income of $361.2 million, or 65 cents per share, compared with $285.7 million, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

Before items, which include a $32.9 million gain on the sale of its heavy-duty laundry detergent brands in Southeast Asia and $49.9 million restructuring charges, Colgate reported a quarterly profit of $380.6 million, or 69 cents per share. Revenue totaled $2.9 billion, up from $2.8 billion a year ago.

Wall Street had forecast a profit of 68 cents per share, the average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, on projected sales of $2.96 billion.

Global pricing during the quarter rose 2 percent, the largest increase in 21 quarters, while unit volume including divested businesses advanced 2.5 percent.

Gross profit margin was 54.6 percent after restructuring charges, and 56 percent excluding charges.

The New York-based company also backed its previous full-year financial forecast of double-digit percentage growth in earnings per share in 2006, starting in the current first quarter. The outlook excludes restructuring charges and accounting changes for stock-based compensation.

For the full fiscal year, Colgate reported net income of $1.35 billion, or $2.43 per share, on $11.4 billion in sales.

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