Despite the impact of Hurricane Katrina, Flowers Foods today (3 February) reported sales of US$396.5m for the fourth quarter ended on December 31. This is 9.7% increase over the $361.4m reported for the fourth quarter last year.

Income from continuing operations and net income per share of $0.19 were reported, compared to $0.11 per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004, a 73% increase. Income from continuing operations and net income for the fourth quarter were up 57% to $11.7m from $7.5m for the previous year’s fouth quarter.

Sales for fiscal 2005 increased 10.6% to $1.716 bn. Income of $0.99 per share represents a 24% increase over the previous year, while net income per share was up 28% to $0.96. Income from continuing operations was $62.9m and net income was $61.2m.

“The operating strength of Flowers Foods is evident in our 2005 results,” said George E. Deese, chairman, chief executive officer and president.

“Through challenges brought on by Hurricane Katrina and opportunities presented by changes in the industry, our team continued to perform well in the marketplace. It is particularly gratifying to report strong earnings growth in a year when the company suffered the temporary loss of a bakery, the disruption of our Gulf Coast markets, and the high costs that followed the hurricane,” he continued.

“As we have previously discussed, new production capacity that we expect to be operational in the second quarter of 2006 will allow us to produce closer to our growth markets, and thereby require less product transportation, which we believe should enable us to achieve our 2006 guidance. Until the new capacity is online, we will incur incremental transportation costs to capture the sales opportunities in the marketplace.”