CENTENNIAL, COLO. — The Penford Corp. posted operating income of $2,918,000 in its Food Ingredients — North America business for the quarter ended May 31. This marked a 67% increase from an operating income of $1,750,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.

Sales in the quarter rose 24% to $17,091,000, which compared with $13,747,000 during the same quarter of 2006. The company said sales of potato coating and protein applications expanded at double-digit rates.

Gross margin increased $1.4 million to $5.1 million, which reflected revenue expansion and higher plant utilization rates.

In the company’s Industrial Ingredients business, operating income was $7,066,000, up sharply from $3,521,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales rose 27% to $52,965,000 compared with $41,809,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.

"Third-quarter results represent a step-change in performance for Penford," said Tom Malkoski, president and chief executive officer. "North American Food Ingredients continues to build its established business while extending technologies into new applications and markets. The Industrial business is operating its core business well, continuing the solid pace of growth in high value specialty products and construction capacity for ethanol production."

Overall, Penford posted a net income of $4,955,000, up from $1,991,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $95,406,000, up 21% from $79,130,000 during the same quarter of 2006.