Lifeway Foods, which produces the milk-based cultured beverage kefir, has reported sales for the fourth quarter of 2005 of US$5.21m, up 23% on the corresponding quarter of 2004.

Fourth-quarter pre-tax income rose by 63% to $1.06m, while earnings per share increased to $0.08 from $0.04 per share for fourth quarter of 2004.

“2005 was a milestone year for our company,” said CEO Julie Smolyansky. “Public interest for Lifeway Kefir is at an all time high, and we are pleased that the mainstream market is really beginning to accept all of our healthy products. We continue to gain distribution outlets all across the country, and continue to create new and innovative dairy products, and 2006 should be another great and exciting year for Lifeway Foods.”

Sales for the full 2005 fiscal year rose by 23%, to $20.13m, with pre-tax income increasing by 19%, to $4.08m. Earnings per share increased to $0.30 for 2005, from $0.24 in 2004.