US units boost IAWS profit to €70 million


Irish food group IAWS said today pre-tax profits for the year ended July 31st rose 17 per cent to €70.3 million.

IAWS, which makes speciality baked goods such as "Cuisine de France" baguettes and ready-to-go foods, as well as selling fertilisers and other farm products, said earnings per share rose 19.4 per cent to 44.8 cents, above most analyst estimates.

It said group turnover rose 10.3 per cent to €1.2 billion and added that two new bread production plants in North America had become operational.

Its shares have more than doubled, from €3.25 in December 1997 to just under €8 recently, giving it a higher profile with overseas investors.

IAWS has invested heavily in North America, buying an 80 per cent stake in the Los-Angeles-based La Brea bakery for $55 million cash and participating in a $75 million joint venture in Ontario to produce baked goods for the Tim Horton's sandwich and doughnut chain, a division of Wendy's International.

The 2002 results were the first showing a contribution from La Brea, a maker of speciality sourdoughs and other breads.