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Wimm-Bill-Dann 2006 net profits rise 210% to $95.4 mln

MOSCOW, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - Wimm-Bill-Dann [LSE, NYSE: WBD] said Wednesday its 2006 net profits, calculated to U.S. GAAP standards, increased 210%, year-on-year, to $95.4 million.

The company is a leading producer of soft drinks and dairy products in Russia, comprising 33 production facilities located in Russia and other former Soviet republics.

Sales increased 26.4% in the reporting period, to $1.762 billion, gross profits soared by 43.6% to $568 million and operating profits grew 77.9% to $155.6 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) soared 54.7%, to $218 million.

Wimm-Bill-Dann Board Chairman Tony Maher was upbeat about the company's performance.

"In the second quarter of last year, we embarked on a journey of reducing expenditure, strengthening our market routes, investing in building consumer brand loyalty and our management team. Though this journey is in its early stages we are seeing encouraging indications that we are on the right track," he said.

Wimm-Bill-Dann has a diversified brand portfolio of more than 1,000 types of dairy products and 150 types of juice and juice-based drinks. The company occupies the leading position in the Russian dairy market with a 34% market share in 2005.

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