Australian grocery wholesaler Metcash said today (1 June) that annual profits rose 2.5% and forecast EPS growth of up to 10% for the 2010 financial year.

Net income for the year ended 30 April reached A$202.5m (US$162m) compared to A$197.5m in the previous year.

The wholesaler posted an 8.5% lift in revenue to A$11.07bn for the twelve month period.

Metcash CEO Andrew Reitzer said the company’s balance sheet remained strong with “all funding lines in place”.

“Although the trading environment remains volatile and there are financial uncertainties affecting customers’ wealth and discretionary spending, we see no weakening of sales in consumer essentials – our core focus,” Reitzer said.

EBITA for the period increased 13.9% to reach A$387m.

Metcash’s Campbells Wholesale unit experienced growth in sales of 7.1% to A$1.66bn and EBITA rose 7.8% to A$33m.

“Metcash has delivered a strong result, with sales accelerating in the second half on the back of strong consumer support of our independent retailer customers,” Reitzer said.

“We are continuing to invest in our core businesses to retain their competitiveness against the national chains and reduce costs”

The group has declared a final dividend of 14 Australian cents per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to 24 cents.