G. Willi-Food Preannounces 15% Climb in Fourth-quarter Revenues

Zvika Williger believes revenues can increase 20% to NIS 200 million this year

Israeli food importer G. Willi-Food International (Nasdaq: WILCF) on Sunday said it expects to report revenue growth of 15% in the fourth quarter of 2005 compared with a year earlier. Revenue should reach NIS 45 million, the company said.

The company, a subsidiary of Tel Aviv-traded Willi-Food, admitted that 2005 was "challenging," but said it expects a much better year in 2006. It will release its quarterly and full-year results in March.

Fourth-quarter 2005 profit will be $6.6 million, Willi-Food said, or NIS 39 million.

During the year 2005, Wall Street-traded Willi-Food International lost 19% to $3.30 per share, representing a low market cap of $28 million.

The share of the parent company Willi-Food Investments, managed by Zvika and Yosef Williger, actually did well on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, rising 15% during 2005. It did however underperform its benchmark index, the Yeter-150 broad market, which advanced 30% during 2005.

Willi-Food manager Zvika Williger told TheMarker on Sunday that the preannouncement, which is a rarity in Israeli market circles, was at the behest of Nasdaq, where Willi-Food International is traded.

He also revealed that Willi-Food has decided to adjust its product mix and focus more on the international market and quality products, such as antipasti and stuffed foods.

In 2006 Williger believes that reorganization at the company will help revenues increase 20% to around NIS 200 million.