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Higher sales and improved margins helped US food producer B&G Foods book a 15.2% increase in EBITDA during 2009.

The Cream of Wheat maker said EBITDA rose to US$103m for the period ended 2 January.

Sales rose 2.9% to $501m. Increased selling prices added $27.2m to sales, which was partially offset by a $13.1m slide in volumes.

Gross margins rose 2.2 % to 29.7%, driven by higher pricing and lower wheat and maple syrup costs.

President and CEO David Wenner said he was “pleased” with the company's performance.

“Our strong operating results throughout the year allowed us to complete a very successful equity offering in September and, more recently, to refinance our most expensive long-term debt at a favourable interest rate while also pushing out the maturity date. We ended the year with strong momentum in the business and have set our 2010 EBITDA guidance accordingly," Wenner said.

Looking to the coming year, B&G said it anticipates EBITDA of $106-109m.

For B&G's full results click here, or check back later for just-food's post-conference call update.