The Performance Food Group, distributors of food and food-related products, has predicted improvement in the company's 2006 fiscal year forecast.

The distributors, who provide for restaurants, hotels, cafeterias, schools, healthcare facilities and other institutions, anticipate net earnings to be in the range of US$1.20 to US$1.30 per share diluted for the full year of 2006. Performance Food Group also expects net earnings per share to be in the range of US$0.11 to US$0.15 per share diluted for the first quarter of 2006.

Performance Food Group chairman and CEO Bob Sledd said: "The outlook for our company in the coming year is for steady growth and strong earnings improvement. Our investments in new capacity, standardisation of our operational systems and strengthening of our infrastructure are positioning us favourably to achieve our goals."

On a consolidated basis, internal sales growth is expected to be in the range of approximately 4% to 6% for the year. Operating margins are expected to improve by approximately 10 to 20 basis points for the year, compared to anticipated 2005 results.

In the broadline segment, the company expects internal sales growth to be in the low single digits for the 2006 year. Broadline operating margins are expected to improve in the range of approximately 35 to 45 basis points for the year.

In the customised segment, internal sales growth is expected to be in the mid single digits for the year. Customised operating margins are expected to be relatively steady for the year until such time as the Company adds potential new customers to leverage its recently expanded capacity.

Sledd added: "The sale of our fresh-cut segment in 2005 and the consolidation of our corporate and broadline infrastructure provide us the opportunity to re-evaluate those corporate costs allocable to our business segments. As such, our broadline segment will be allocated a greater share of our investment in information technology costs, including our focused standardization and enhancement of our financial infrastructure. This reallocation of corporate costs will be evident in our segment disclosures throughout 2006."