Stellarton, NS-based food distribution firm Empire Company Ltd has reported record earnings before net capital gains and other items (after goodwill charges) of C$35.3m (US$22.27m), C$1.08/share, for its Q3 ended 31 January 2002. This performance represents strong growth over the C$17.4m, C$0.53/share, recorded in the same period last year. All operating companies recorded improved earnings over the Q3 last year and each contributed to the record performance. Included in Q3 net earnings are earnings from discontinued operations of C$0.9m versus C$1.4m last year. Earnings from discontinued operations reflect accounting for SERCA foodservice operations as a discontinued operation based on a definitive agreement, announced 5 December 2001 to sell substantially all of the net assets of SERCA foodservice operations and the expectation for closing this transaction prior to the end of the fiscal year.