Hansen Natural Corp. has today (27 February) posted soaring annual profits for 2006 thanks to its Monster energy drink and a US distribution deal with Anheuser-Busch.

The US soft drinks group saw gross profit leap 73% to US$316m last year. Hansen also saw net sales also leap 73% to a record US$605.4m.

The company said it had decided to only report "selected financial information" on its annual results due to the ongoing probe into the award of stock options to company executives.

Nevertheless, Hansen chairman and CEO Rodney Sacks said strong sales of Monster, as well as its Unbound and Rumba energy drinks, had driven the company to record revenues.

Sacks said: "The energy category continued to show strong growth over the prior year, and the Monster brand continued to grow well in excess of the market."

Last year, Hansen struck an off-trade distribution deal for the US market with A-B wholesalers, an agreement that Sacks said is "progressing well".

Sacks added that Hansen would soon start to implement a similar deal with A-B in the US on-trade.