Goodman Fielder CEO Chris Delaney said today (14 August) the Australian food group’s moves to improve its performance were paying off.

After two years of losses, the MeadowLea butter and Wonder White bread owner returned to profit in its last financial year.

In the last 12 months, the company has set out plans to close plants and sold off assets, while upping advertising expenditure and expanding its presence in new channels.

The company booked net profit after tax from continuing operations of A$83.5m (US$76.2m) for the year to the end of June, compared to a loss of A$123.8m a year earlier.

Proceeds from asset sales helped Goodman Fielder’s bottom line. Excluding those deals, the company also pointed to an increase in normalised net profit after tax.

Nevertheless, underlying EBIT from continuing operations fell more than 8% during the year. However, Goodman Fielder said second-half underlying EBIT from continuing operations was up 21% compared to the first half of the year.

Revenue from continuing operations fell 3.9% to A$2.13bn thanks to lower sales volumes from Goodman Fielder’s bakery and grocery products.

However, Delaney said: “The strategic initiatives we are implementing across the business are starting to take hold and this is reflected in the stronger second-half performance.”

“This has been a year of major change for Goodman Fielder. The company is now financially stronger with a much clearer focus on the core categories where we have capacity to leverage our leading brands and market positions to restore acceptable earnings growth.”

The company said its financial position meant it could restore a dividend to shareholders.

At the close of trading on the Australian Stock Exchange, Goodman Fielder shares had fallen 4.55% to A$0.735.

Click here for the full statement from Goodman Fielder.