Western-Australian Foodland Associated has reported a 2001-02 net profit of A$102.4m (US$56.5m), an increase from A$59.2m last year that exceeded expectations.

The increase in profit is in part due to the acquisition of 40 east coast Franklins stores and Woolworths New Zealand, which was acquired in June for NZ$690m (US$327m). The acquisitions have increased the number of Foodland’s stores from 95 to 224.

The integration of the new stores in Queensland into the Foodland network is however taking longer than expected, due to refurbishment delays and tough competition. Managing director Trevor Coates remains confident that Foodland can win through.

The company has no current interest in making further acquisitions, because its focus is on integrating the new operations and because acquisition opportunities in Australia and New Zealand are few and far between. Foodland has not discounted expanding its operations further afield, but there are no definite plans.

Cost savings from the Woolworth NZ acquisition are estimated at NZ$10m in the first year, NZ$40m in the second year and NZ$50m in the third year, reported Dow Jones International.

Foodland shares are up 1.4%, down slightly from the record high of AS$20.10 that was achieved after the profit report.