Molson Coors has posted a sharp rise in Q4 profit thanks, in part, to an extra selling week.

The North American brewer said today (15 February) that earnings for the 13-week quarter came in at US$99.2m, up from $22.4m in the corresponding quarter a year earlier.

Stripping out special items, quarterly profit reached $108.4m the company said.

Sales for the three-month period were up by 10.6% in value terms to $1.53bn, and by 5.2% in volume to 10.9m barrels.

For the full-year 2006, sales volumes lifted by 2.% to 42.1m barrels, while in value terms, sales climbed by 4.1% to $5.84bn. Income from continuing operations totalled $373.6m. Excluding one-time items, 2006 after-tax income from continuing operations was $369.1m, a 26.4% increase pro forma on 2005.

The company noted that full-year figures for 2005 were pro forma, as if the Molson Coors merger had been completed at the beginning of fiscal 2005 rather than on 9 February of that year.

"We are very pleased with Molson Coors' 2006 fourth-quarter and full-year results, which demonstrated that our brand growth strategies and cost-reduction efforts continue to strengthen our competitive capabilities and financial performance," said Leo Kiely, Molson Coors president and CEO.

"We finished 2006 with even stronger brands, positive pricing, cost savings that exceeded our goals for the year, double-digit earnings growth and strong cash generation.

"Looking ahead, we feel good about the underlying strength of our company as we strive to make even more progress in 2007. We're confident that our teams can build on the sales momentum and revenue-generating potential of our strategic brands, continue attacking costs and further strengthen the fundamentals of our businesses worldwide."