Speciality foods producer Lancaster Colony posted earnings of US$37.6m for the full fiscal year to the end of June, or $1.28 per share, against net income last year of $45.7m, or $1.45 per diluted share.

Income from continuing operations reached $48.44m, compared to $64.28m in the preceding fiscal year. Revenues for the full year rose from $945.8m to $980.9m.

The Ohio-based company posted a fourth-quarter loss $2.6m, as costs associated with the divestiture of its automotive operation hit results. Net sales for the fourth quarter increased by 4% to $237m.

Lancaster Colony said its specialty food sales rose by 14% to a record $211.3m in the quarter, reflecting increases in both retail and foodservice sales.

"While mix and pricing actions allowed our specialty food operating margin to improve over the prior quarter level, food operations remained greatly challenged by markedly higher commodity costs," said chairman and CEO John B. Gerlach, Jr.

Following the sale of its final remaining automotive operation, Lancaster's only remaining significant non-food business is its candle poduction unit.

Gerlach added: "With the sale of our aluminum truck accessory operations in June, our two-year strategic review resulted in the divestiture or closure of several non-food operations that had combined net sales in excess of $300m as recently as fiscal 2006. We feel we have now clearly defined our future focus on the food sector."