Russian food processor Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods OJSC today (Monday) announced rises in sales and net income for the year ended 31 December 2004.

Sales rose to US$1,189.3m compared to $938.5m in 2003. Net income increased $23.0m in 2004 from $21.2m.

CEO Sergei Plastinin said he was pleased with the growth. “At the same time, we remain focused on improving our profitability and tightening our cost control procedures and mechanisms,” he said. “We believe that some additional steps that we carried out in the beginning of this year, including the merger of juice and water businesses, will allow us to benefit further from economies of scale and more streamlined operations at every level – from production to marketing to distribution.”

“The strategic and ever growing role of the baby food market prompted us to organize baby food into a separate business unit,” he said.

Dairy sales grew by 34% year-on-year, with cheese sales more than doubling compared to 2003, he said. Yogurts, dairy desserts and juice containing dairy drinks grew 36% year-on-year, a slower pace than initially anticipated. “However, we believe that the consumption of these higher margin products will intensify in 2005 and beyond,” he said.