US natural and organic food company Hain Celestial has reported lower quarterly net income amid higher costs.

The company reported net income of US$5.1m, or 14 cents per share, for the fourth quarter to 30 June, compared to $6.8m, or 19 cents per share, for the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter net sales rose 17% to $137.4m from $117.8m a year earlier.

For the full fiscal 2004 year, Hain Celestial reported net income of $27.0m, or 74 cents per share, compared with $27.5m, or 79 cents per share in the prior year. Full-year net sales rose to $544.1m from $466.5m in the previous year.

"We saw growth across our business units with standout results from Snacks, Canada and Europe, continued growth from Earth's Best, and renewed growth from our Westsoy non-dairy brand. In addition, our new CarbFit brands have continued to become more familiar to our consumers and have become a balanced complement to our existing portfolio of healthy and natural foods," said Irwin Simon, president and chief executive officer.

"Looking ahead, our initiative to adjust prices upward across certain of our US businesses is moving forward according to plan in the current first quarter," Simon added.

The company also announced that fastfood chain McDonald's will begin a 50-store test of Hain Celestial's McVeggie Burger in Manhattan in September

Hain Celestial forecast fiscal 2005 full-year earnings of between 92 cents and $1.01 per share on revenues of $650m to $670m.