US-based natural and organic group Hain Celestial has posted bumper annual results with profits up almost 30%.


The company, maker of brands including Rice Dream and Earth’s Best, booked a 29% jump in operating profit of US$84.5m for the year to 30 June. Revenue growth was also strong, rising almost 22% to $738.6m.


Hain Celestial also laid down a bullish forecast for the next 12 months. The company expects sales to rise by up to 17%, while it forecast an increase of earnings per share of 18-21%.


“”The fundamentals of our business remain strong,” said president and CEO Irwin Simon. He pointed to the company’s growth in North America, which he said was driven by brands including Arrowhead Mills and Health Valley.


Simon added: “During fiscal year 2008, we intend to maintain our focus on margin enhancement and operating efficiencies to strengthen our business and offset higher input costs.”


Meanwhile, Hain Celestial said it has acquired Plainville Turkey Farm, a US processor of natural and antibiotic-free whole turkeys and deli turkey products.


Hain Celestial said it had acquired the business through its Hain Pure Protein Corp. joint venture, in which it holds a majority stake.


Hain Celestial also gave an update to the ongoing investigation into share buying at the company. US share watchdog The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an “informal inquiry” back in June. Hain Celestial then appointed an independent panel to review its procedures for buying stock options and the company said this review is ongoing.