Canadian agribusiness group Viterra said it made “great progress” in its 2009/2010 financial year, delivering an increase in full-year profits.

For the year ended 31 October, net earnings climbed 28% to C$145m (US$145.3m), the firm reported yesterday (19 January). Viterra generated EBITDA of C$518m compared to C$324m in its last fiscal year, driven by the firm’s Australian operations, which it acquired in September 2009, through the purchase of ABB.

Consolidated sales for the period reached C$8.3bn, increasing 24% from last year. Viterra’s Australian operations contributed C$2.3bn to revenues in fiscal 2010.

“Agriculture continues to be at the forefront of the global economy,” said Mayo Schmidt, Viterra’s president and CEO. “Recently, flooding in parts of Australia, droughts in Argentina and potential crop damaging frost in Europe has tightened supply and pushed commodity prices up, allowing them to return from the soft pricing environment experienced during the last two years.

“Viterra is ideally situated with a strong leadership position in origination from both North America and South Australia. In fact, South Australia is currently harvesting what is expected to be a record setting crop,” he added.

In the fourth quarter, Viterra made a profit of C$52.7m, compared to a net loss of C$0.9m last year. EBITDA for the three-month period climbed to C$138m from C$40.2m a year earlier.

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Sales reached C$2bn in the quarter, an increase of 38% on the prior-year period.

Viterra shares reached C$11.07 at close of trading yesterday, an increase of C$0.47.

Click here to view the full earnings release.