Caesarstone Sdot-Yam Ltd. (CSTE), a manufacturer of high quality engineered quartz surfaces, today reported financial results for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year ended December 31, 2012. Revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012 increased by 13.6% to $76.2 million compared to $67.1 million in the same quarter of the prior year. Growth in revenues was driven by continued increases in sales in the United States and Canada, up 19.7% and 29.3% respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year, and by 16.6% growth in Australia. Revenue growth was partially offset by a decline in Europe and by a flat performance in Israel. On a constant currency basis, fourth quarter revenue growth was 12.9% compared to the same period last year. Yosef Shiran, Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are pleased to have finished the year with a strong fourth quarter. Our teams in each region executed well and we continue to position the business advantageously around the world. We believe we have the right global strategy in place to sustain our growth, build our operational capabilities, enhance our brand and drive value to consumers, customers and shareholders.” Gross margin in the fourth quarter was 41.8% compared to 39.0% in the same period in the prior year. The Company noted that last year’s fourth quarter included a $1.8 million non-recurring write-off of inventory held by a third-party. The Company also noted that while changes in foreign exchange rates impacted revenue negatively, they also reduced cost of goods sold, offsetting some impact on gross profit. Operating expenses in the fourth quarter were $19.7 million, or 25.8% of revenues. This compares to the prior year’s fourth quarter level of $20.0 million, or 29.8% of revenues. The year-ago quarter contained a $1.1 million write-down for a loan to the above-mentioned third party. Sales and marketing expenses increased by 20.4% compared to the same quarter in the prior year primarily to facilitate growth in the United States and Canada.