US packaged food company ConAgra Foods has reported a 41% rise in quarterly net income and said fiscal 2004 had been a year of "significant momentum".

The company posted net income of US$212m, or 40 cents per share, for the fourth quarter to 30 May, compared to $150m, or 28 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of the previous year. Sales rose to $4.0bn from $3.6bn a year earlier.

For the full fiscal year 2004, net income rose to $880m, or $1.66 per share, compared to $775m, or $1.46 per share, in the previous year. Full-year sales were $14.5bn, lower than last year's sales of $16.9bn.

"Fiscal year 2004 was a year of significant momentum for ConAgra Foods; we accomplished the strategic reshaping of our portfolio that we set out to do by completing the divesture of non-core businesses, and we made measurable progress with key initiatives designed to drive profitable future growth," said chairman and CEO Bruce Rohde.

"We are expanding profit margins through sales, marketing, and operational platform initiatives, as we build our business base into a richer, and more consumer-focused enterprise," Rohde added.

The company said it expects to achieve a solid EPS performance in fiscal 2005 and growth in sales and operating profits from its current business segments.