Kefir maker Lifeway Foods has posted first quarter gains, with gross profits up 34% to US$2.69m aided by low milk costs.


Sales increased by 29% from $4.66m for the first quarter of last year to $6m this year and gross margins increased from 45% to 47% in the quarter. Operating income rose 52% to $1.4m and EPS increased from $0.09 to $0.11 per share.

Lifeway Foods CFO Edward Smolyansky said: “We are extremely pleased with our first quarter results particularly with our gross and operating margins. Our gross margins rose to their best levels since 2004, partly due to lower raw material costs. The average cost of milk (our largest raw material cost) for the first quarter 2006 was at its lowest levels since late 2004. We are confident we can maintain our strong margins throughout 2006, as the average cost of milk in April 2006 was at its lowest level of the year.”