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Monster Beverage 4Q net income grows 5 percent

NEW YORK (AP) -- Monster Beverage Corp. said Wednesday its net income rose 5 percent in the fourth quarter as it expanded energy drink sales into new markets.

The company said it is selling its drinks in new international markets. While growth in energy drink sales in the U.S. has slowed down, sales of Monster Energy drinks are growing at a faster pace than those of competing drinks.

Monster said its net income increased to $68 million, or 39 cents per share, from $64.5 million, or 35 cents per share. Revenue grew 15 percent, to $471.5 million from $410 million.

Analysts were expecting net income of 41 cents per share and $482.2 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

In recent months the Corona, Calif., company has faced increased government scrutiny and the Food and Drug Administration has disclosed that it is investigating reports of five deaths and a non-fatal heart attack in people who consumed its highly caffeinated Monster Energy Drink. Monster Beverage said Wednesday that its drinks are safe.

The company's net income rose 19 percent in 2012, reaching $340 million, or $1.86 per share, from $286.2 million, or $1.53 per share. Revenue increased 21 percent, to $2.06 billion from $1.7 billion.

Shares of Monster Beverage slipped 12 cents to $49.50 in extended trading following the earnings report.