MEXICO CITY — Net majority income of Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. in the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, was NP4,320 million ($285 million), up 12% from NP3,873 million in fiscal 2007. Sales also rose 12%, climbing to NP82,317 million ($5,437 million) from NP73,395 million.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, net majority income was NP1,274 million ($84 million), up 31% from NP972 million. Sales were NP22,178 million ($1,467 million), up 15% from NP19,274 million in the same period a year ago.

Operating profit in the United States during fiscal 2008 was NP125 million ($8 million), down 39% from NP206 million a year ago. Sales rose 9% to NP18,049 million ($1,193 million).

"Performance was driven by several pricing actions taken over the past 12 months, growth at national retailers and positive performance of new product launches in Oroweat, Mrs Baird’s and the Mexican brands," Grupo Bimbo said.

Pacing the growth was Latin America, where operating profit rose 18% to NP431 million ($28.5 million) behind a 30% gain in sales to NP11,346 million. Grupo Bimbo said gains were registered in every country as a result of the integration of new operations, double-digit volume growth rates, higher average product prices and new product launches. Performance was strongest in Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras and Uruguay, the company said.

In the Mexico division, operating profit was NP6,855 million ($453 million) during the year, up 16% from the same period a year ago. Net sales rose to NP54,845 million from NP49,713 million.

Grupo Bimbo said the gains were driven by higher average product prices and new product launches. In addition, non-traditional channels continued to register positive performance.