The company, which already sells its products in Montreal and Toronto, said yesterday it will investigate opportunities for the production and sales of its products in Canada.
Lifeway has formed Lifeway Foods Canada, a business unit of its LFI Enterprises subsidiary and is in the process of obtaining registration for Lifeway Foods Canada to engage in commercial activities in Quebec.
Sales of Lifeway products, which include cultured, probiotic and soy-based food products, climbed 22 per cent over the course of 2003, to $14.87 million, while operating profits were up 35 per cent to $3.48 million.
Julie Smolyansky, president and CEO, noted that increasing awareness of the benefits of probiotics and further expansion of its products into mainstream markets had helped drive sales.
The company also sold off real estate during the first quarter of last year, giving it an approximate $1.2 million capital gain, and reduced heavily impaired securities by around $1 million.
"By doing this, we were able to minimize the income tax liability created from the real estate gain, and strengthened our financial position by removing the impaired securities from our balance sheet," said controller Edward Smolyansky.
Sales in the current first quarter are up by around 18 per cent on the last year's quarter.