Bull-Dog Sauce Co. has revealed that increasing costs and the expense of avoiding a takeover by US hedge fund Steel Partners meant that it racked up a loss in the year ended 31 March.

The Japanese sauce manufacturer booked a net loss of JPY1.91bn (US$18.2m) during the fiscal year, compared to a net profit of JPY541m a year earlier.

Operating profit fell to JPY677m, down 5.7%, on the back of sales of JPY16.5bn, down 1.8%.

While increased costs ate into the group's margins, the company's profits were heavily dented by the so-called "poison pill" taken to counter Steel Partners' May 2007 takeover bid, which eventually resulted in Bull-Dog buying out its investor for about JPY2.1bn.

In a filing with the Tokyo stock exchange, Bull-Dog said that it expects to return to profitability in the current fiscal year.