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Thai Union Quadruples Q4 Net Profit

Thai Union Frozen Products Pcl (TUF), the world’s biggest canned tuna maker, reported a surge in quarterly profit on Tuesday, thanks to higher sales and an improvement in its gross profit margin.

TUF, which makes the “Chicken of the Sea” brand and counts WalMart and Costco among its buyers, said October-December net profit was 1.52 billion baht (USD 49.5 million), up from 352 million baht a year earlier but below 1.56 billion in the third quarter.

The result beat an average net profit forecast of 1.17 billion baht, according to 15 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Full-year net profit of 5.07 billion baht was higher than the 2.87 billion baht net profit of a year earlier and compared with a 4.56 billion baht analyst forecast.

Analysts expect a solid performance in 2012 due to a larger sales contribution from MW Brands Holdings SAS and a rise in its selling prices for canned tuna and processed shrimps, despite higher costs.

TUF said it expected 2012 revenue and net profit growth of at least 20 percent due to higher product prices and strong demand.

Stocks in TUF, valued at USD 2.2 billion, advanced 13 percent in the October-December quarter versus an 11.9 percent gain in the main Thai stock index.