Vita Food Products, the Chicago-based producer of seafood and other food products, has posted a net loss for the fourth quarter to 31 December 2005, of US$0.43m, or $0.11 per share, against a net loss of $2.06m, or $0.54 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The company said the net losses for both fourth quarters include certain unusual corporate level transactions and charges. Without these exceptional items, the Vita Seafood segment, which processes and markets herring, salmon and complementary products, recorded net income of $0.14m for the quarter, against net income of $0.40m for the fourth quarter of 2004. The company attributed the drop in profit to higher selling and administrative expenses.

Vita’s other division, VSF, which produces and markets salad dressings, marinara sauces, cooking sauces, honey and other specialty food products, recorded a net loss of $0.14m, compared to a net loss of $0.15m in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Group consolidated net sales for the fourth quarter of 2005 reached $14.2m, up from $13.9m in the fourth quarter of 2004. Vita Seafood’s net sales for the quarter stood at $9.8m, 2% up on the fourth quarter of 2004. VSF’s net sales also rose by 2%, to reach $4.4m.

“2005 was a year full of changes for Vita,” said Steve Rubin, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We built up our future management team, overhauled many production processes, laid out a plan to compete more effectively and set the stage for a return to profitability in 2006. In addition, the equity investment of $2.5m that we recently announced should provide the company with the capital resources necessary to take advantage of the opportunities we have identified. We remain comfortable with our earlier guidance of between $0.20 and $0.24 per share for 2006.”

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For the full year, Vita Foods posted a net loss of $0.89m, or $0.23 per share, compared to a net loss of $2.72m, or $0.71 per share, for 2004. With additional charges stripped out, Vita Seafood segment had a net loss of $0.76m in 2005 compared to a net loss of $0.52m in 2004. VSF’s net income was $0.29m in 2005 compared with a net income of $0.12m in 2004.

Consolidated net sales for the year 2005 fell by 4% to $46.9m from $48.8m in 2004. Vita Seafood’s net sales declined 2% to $26.4m, from $27m in 2004, while VSF’s net sales for 2005 declined by 6% to $20.5m.