International Multifoods Corp. today reported first-quarter fiscal 2001 earnings from continuing operations of $4.8 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, compared with $4.6 million, or 24 cents per share, in the same period last year. Including results from the company's Venezuelan business, which was divested last year, the company reported a net loss of $3.2 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, in the year-earlier first quarter. Operating earnings for the first quarter ended May 27 increased 9 percent to $11.2 million, up from $10.3 million a year ago. First-quarter net sales were $610.3 million, up 4 percent from $588.8 million last year. The company's Economic Value Added (EVA) improved $2.4 million. This improvement was primarily driven by the divestiture of Venezuela Foods. Gary E. Costley, International Multifoods chairman and chief executive officer, said the company's results were in line with expectations. "We continue to benefit from the strong performance of our foodservice manufacturing businesses," Costley said. "In distribution, we are encouraged by the progress being made to reduce costs and improve productivity. Overall, we remain comfortable with our outlook for the balance of the year. As we said at year-end, we expect the first-half year-over-year comparisons to be even with the prior year and to improve significantly as the year goes on. "During the quarter, we continued to take steps to strengthen our core foodservice manufacturing and distribution businesses," Costley said. "We completed two consolidation projects in distribution, and we made additional investments in our foodservice manufacturing operation to capitalize on market trends and emerging growth opportunities."