Alcon’s sales growth contributed to operating profit of $537m, or 31.3% of sales, compared to $573m in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Gross profit margin was consistent at 74.0%, compared to 79.2% in 2008. Other income/expense changed from an expense of $82m in 2008 to income of $13m in 2009, mainly due to losses on the company’s investment portfolio in 2008 compared to gains in 2009.

For the full year 2009, Alcon has reported net earnings decline by 2% to $2.01bn or $6.66 per diluted share. The global sales is of $6.50bn where an increase of 3.3% over 2008 global sales of $6.29 bn, or 6.3% excluding the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations.

Kevin Buehler, president and chief executive officer of Alcon, said: “Our results in the fourth quarter clearly show improving dynamics in the eye care market and positive momentum in Alcon’s key brands that supported solid organic sales growth in the quarter.

“We built momentum throughout the year to deliver on the Alcon business model of sustainable organic growth, global market share gains and core margin improvement. While selected market challenges remain, these encouraging trends and the long-term strategic drivers of our business position Alcon well to deliver sustainable growth.”