The world's largest maker of drinks cans, Rexam Plc, has reported above expectations profits for 2001, and predicted a good 2002 on the back of price rises in the US drinks can market today.

The UK company is the world's fourth biggest consumer packaging business and makes cans for Coca Cola Co. It said prices would rise around 4% in the US, where it sold US$1.4 billion of product last year.

"That will have a significant impact on the results for 2002," chief executive Rolf Borjesson said.

The company's profits before tax, goodwill and exceptional items were up 8% to £218m. Analyst forecast had been in the region of £210-215m.

Turnover, meanwhile, leapt 25% to £3.5 billions.