Israeli food group G Willi-Food International has posted gross revenues for the year to 31 December 2005 of NIS166.3m (US$36.1m), against NIS 171.0m in 2004.

Net income fell to NIS7.7m from NIS11.2m in 2004, reflecting a one-time reserve of NIS3.5m taken during the second quarter of 2005 related to the company’s estimated exposure to the collapse of Israeli supermarket retailer Clubmarket Marketing Chains. Gross margins fell from 23.8% in 2004 to 22.9% in 2005.

While describing a 2005 as a “challenging year” for the company, chief operating officer Zvi Williger said food sales had grown in the third and fourth quarters.

“Despite the write-off attributed to Clubmarket’s bankruptcy in our second quarter of 2005, Willi Food managed to increase its revenues by 2% and 14% for the third and fourth quarters of 2005, respectively, as compared with the company’s performance in the corresponding quarters of 2004,” Williger said. “Willi Food is debt-free and cash positive and is positioned to grow our market share both domestically and internationally.

“Our strategy is to capitalise on the recovery of the Israeli food market, while pursuing international expansion. We will continue to pursue the best opportunities to launch Willi-Food into the lucrative US and European food markets.”
Earlier this month, shares of the company’s majority-owned subsidiary, Gold Frost, began trading on London’s AIM market. As a result of the flotation, Willi Food has an unrealised capital gain of approximately $4.2m.

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