Parmalat Pacific, a unit of beleaguered Italian food group Parmalat, has reported a net loss of A$165.9m (US$116.6m) for 2003, hit by one-off charges related to the insolvency of its parent company.

Parmalat Pacific, which in 2003 had operations in Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, wrote off a $145m bond issued by Parmalat Finance and $43.9m owed to the company by non-Australian Parmalat units, reported Dow Jones News. The company posted a net loss of $29.7m in 2002.

One highlight of the unit's results was the performance of its Australian operations, which posted profit before tax and one-time items of $9.2m, a turnaround of $39.5m from the previous year.

The company's sales in Australia increased 2.9% to $647.7m, accounting for almost 96% of Parmalat's Pacific's total sales, which came in at $677.9m.

Parmalat Pacific has already sold off its Thai operations, and is in talks to divest its operations in Vietnam. It expects to close its Indonesian unit.

"The operating performance of Parmalat Australia in 2003 supports our stance, and that of administrator Enrico Bondi, that this company is a strong and viable business, with positive cash flow, quality brands and established, solid markets," David Lord, managing director of Parmalat Australia, was quoted by Dow Jones News as saying.