Lancaster Colony, the US candles-to-food group, said today (20 August) that profits from its speciality food business more than doubled during its fourth quarter, helping the group as a whole swing into the black.

The company booked fourth-quarter net income of US$28.4m for the year to 30 June, against a net loss of $2.6m a year earlier. Net sales rose 7% to $253m.

For the full year, group net income reached $89.1m against $37.6m in the previous fiscal year. Net sales growth matched that in the fourth quarter, climbing 7% to $1.05bn.

Chairman and CEO John Gerlach Jr said: “For the year, specialty foods drove our improved overall performance, with the segment’s improved profitability from higher sales volumes and pricing actions partially offset by an overall increase in material costs.”