Food manufacturer National Foods has posted a 13% increase in net profit to A$51.1m (US$) for its full 2001-2002 year, and has forecast overall profit growth for the next 18 months to two years of at least 15%.

The increase came despite, rather than because of, the impact of National Foods' recent A$92m acquisition of the King Island Company. In the five months to 30 June, the company contributed a loss of A$1m.

National Foods' MD Max Ould admitted that he was disappointed with King Island's results, but that he expected various restructuring initiatives to turn around the company's performance.

According to a report in the Herald and Weekly Times, Ould added that he believes a merger with New South Wales-based cooperative Dairy Farmers would benefit the entire Australian dairy industry.