Chicago-based Vita Food Products has announced consolidated net income of US$57,000 ($0.01 per share) for the first quarter of 2006, against a net loss of $257,000 ($0.07 per share) in the first quarter of 2005. Consolidated net sales for the first quarter of 2006 rose by 17% to $12.8m from $10.9m.


“During the first quarter, we implemented our plan that returns us to profitability, and we are pleased with the results,” said VITA ’s chairman Steve Rubin. “In addition, we completed the $2.5m equity investment in March, and have set the stage for continued progress.”


The company also confirmed its earnings guidance for 2006 of between $0.20 and $0.24 per share.


Vita’s seafood operation, which is primarily engaged in the processing and sale of herring products and cured and smoked salmon products, contributed net income of $9,000, the company said, compared with a net loss of $295,000 in the first quarter of 2005. The company said the improved performance stemmed from the combined effect of increased sales volume and higher margins.


Net sales at Vita’s seafood division rose by 23% from $6.0m to $7.4m, a record high for the quarter ending 31 March. The increase was driven by significantly higher sales of salmon products, a result of rising demand and new distribution, and a more modest rise in sales of herring products.


Meanwhile, Vita Specialty Foods (VSF), which produces and markets salad dressings, marinara sauces, cooking sauces, honey and other specialty food products, contributed net income of $48,000 in the first quarter, against net income of $38,000 in the first quarter of 2005, on the back of a managed reduction in operational expenses. VSF’s net sales for the first quarter reached $5.4m, against $4.9m in the first quarter of 2005.