The effective tax rate for 2012 was 23.9 percent versus 28.1 percent a year ago. The lower effective tax rate was primarily attributable to favorable adjustments associated with prior years' tax filings, changes in management's assertion that certain current and prior years' foreign earnings and profits are permanently invested abroad, and changes in the geographic earnings mix. The benefit from prior years' tax items was $0.07 per diluted share.
Net earnings attributable to shareholders for 2012 totaled $604.5 million, or $2.95 per diluted share, compared with $508.5 million, or $2.47 per diluted share, for the prior-year period.
On a non-GAAP basis, which excludes specified items, net earnings attributable to shareholders totaled $630.1 million, or $3.08 per diluted share, in 2012, compared to $573.1 million, or $2.79 per diluted share, in 2011.
Full-Year 2012 Segment Results
Sales in the Asia/Latin America segment were $2,719.5 million, up 11 percent from $2,447.2 million in 2011. Sales increased seven percent from price and five percent from volume, offset by a one percent decline from foreign exchange. The majority of the markets in the segment delivered double-digit constant dollar sales growth from higher pricing and overall category growth, enhanced by share gains in key markets. Constant dollar sales in China/Hong Kong grew five percent for the full year. In China, the company made progress in recovering market share in the second half of 2012, following a decline in the first half of the year. Sales growth for the segment also benefited from the Argentine acquisition in March 2012, which contributed two percent to total company full-year growth. EBIT for the segment totaled $901.3 million, up 11 percent compared to $811.6 million in 2011. The EBIT increase was primarily related to sales growth, partially offset by increased demand-generation investments.
The North America/Europe segment reported sales of $1,181.8 million for 2012, down four percent from $1,229.8 million in 2011. Sales declined seven percent from volume and one percent from foreign exchange, partially offset by a four percent increase from price. The volume decline was primarily in the United States and attributed to lower market share, category consumption and births. Total market share was lower in comparison to the prior year, when the company benefited from a competitor's recall, as well as the 2012 impact of the unfounded media reports in December 2011 of alleged product contamination. Significant progress was made in recovering market share in the fourth quarter of 2012. EBIT totaled $246.1 million, compared to $308.4 million in 2011. The decrease was primarily due to lower sales and gross margins, partially offset by lower operating expenses. The gross margin decline resulted from higher commodity costs and lower production volumes.