Colgate-Palmolive said sales in Europe boosted full-year profit as the group focuses on brands such as Colgate toothpaste, Irish Spring fabric conditioner and Hill’s petfood.

For the year to December 31, 2003, pre-tax profit rose 9% to $2.04bn from $1.87bn on sales growth of 6.5% to $9.9bn up from $9.3bn.

European sales and unit volume grew 16% and 3%. Colgate said gains in the UK, Germany, Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey, Spain, Romania, Ukraine and Czech Republic more than offset volume declines in France and Italy due to poor economic conditions.

In the US fourth quarter operating profit fell 24% due to high advertising and promotional costs and lower volume on Colgate Simply White Gel toothpaste.