CHICAGO (AP) _ Mint and chewing gum leader Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. reported a 9 percent gain in third-quarter profits Wednesday, buoyed by particularly strong sales in Europe and Asia.

Net earnings were $91.5 million, or 41 cents a share, up from $83.8 million, or 37 cents a share, a year earlier. That matched the per-share estimate of Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Sales jumped 12 percent to $597.6 million from $533.3 million.

Wrigley shares closed up 20 cents at $49.99 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, up a split-adjusted 4 percent for the year.

For the first nine months, earnings were $273.1 million, or $1.21 a share, up from $250.6 million, or $1.10 a share. Sales increased 11 percent to $1.78 billion from $1.61 billion.

The company also indicated it is continuing its push with new products.

Wrigley said several new items will appear on U.S. store shelves around the end of the year, including new flavors of its Eclipse sugar-free pellet gum and Orbit sugar-free tab gum. Also new is the first chewing gum product resulting from its licensing agreement with Procter & Gamble _ Orbit White, a sugar-free pellet gum designed for whiter, healthier teeth.