Northland Cranberries has reported a net income of $4 million in the fourth quarter ended 31 August, equivalent to $0.04 per share and a significant improvement on small loss registered in the same period of 2002.
Revenues for the quarter were $27.2 million, an 18 per cent hike year-on-year. This represents something of a reversal of fortunes of the third quarter, when both net income and revenues declined after a period of price discounting by competitors such as Ocean Spray.
For the full year, Northland reported net earnings of $6.6 million, or $0.06 per share, on revenues of $96.5 million. That compares with net income of $53.8 million on revenues of $101.5 million for the prior year, although the former figure was swelled to the tune of more than $50 million as a result of the company's financial restructuring in 2001.
Northland's chief executive, John Swendrowski, said that the company had 6.7 percent market share for the four-week period ending 2 November, which marks a steady improvement on the 5.6 per cent achieved for a 12-week period in the summer (ended 8 September).
Northland significantly improved its balance sheet during fiscal 2003 by reducing total liabilities - including a raft of debt - by $32.8 million. The settlement of litigation with Cliffstar relating to the sale of Northland's private label juice business in 2000 provided a cash tranche to help in this effort, the company noted.
Swendrowski also indicated that additional strategic developments may be in the offing for Northland, and the company has retained a financial advisor to explore a number of possibilities, including a merger, acquisition, joint venture or even a potential sale of the company.
"Given the improvement in our financial condition since our financial restructuring, we believe the time is right to explore various strategic alternatives in an effort to maximize shareholder value," he said.