Global packaging company MeadWestvaco (MWV) has posted a fourth quarter loss of $9m, citing the tough economic conditions.

The decline was primarily due to lower volume across certain US and European packaging markets as customers aggressively responded to uncertain demand trends caused by ongoing global financial developments.

Income from continuing operations in the full-year stood at $268m, compared with $262m last year, while adjusted income from continuing operations in the quarter was $44m down from $71m the previous 12 months.

However, it was not all bad news, as the company reported sales of $1.5bn in the fourth quarter of 2011, unchanged year-on-year, while sales in the full-year increased by 6% to $6.06bn.

MWV Jr chairman and CEO John Luke said the company was confident about the future. "Even as our customers responded to slower economic conditions and weaker demand in the fourth quarter, the profitable growth strategies we have been implementing still had a positive impact on our results during this difficult period," he said.

MWV announced that fourth quarter profits for the packaging resources segment remained at $37m, against $64m in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Sales of the segment rose to $698m in the quarter against prior year sales of $667m, this was due to improved paperboard pricing and better product mix across key packaging markets.

In the consumer solutions area, the firm’s profit stood at $17m in the quarter compared with $24m in the fourth quarter of 2010. Sales in this segment during the quarter were $437m, which were equal to the fourth quarter of 2010.