* EPS C$0.04 vs loss of C$0.20/shr a yr earlier
* Sales rise 4.5 pct to C$59.3 mln
TORONTO, June 9 (Reuters) - Canadian winery Andrew Peller Ltd ADWa.TO reported a profit on Wednesday as cost controls and higher sales helped it overturn a year-earlier loss.
Net income in the company’s financial fourth quarter ended March 31 was C$638,000 ($613,000), or 4 Canadian cents a share, compared with a year-before loss of C$3.2 million, or 20 Canadian cents a share.
The company, which markets its wines under the Peller Estates, Hillebrand and Red Rooster brands, said sales in the quarter rose 4.5 percent to C$59.3 million.
The winemaker said the increased sales were due to the company’s push to boost sales of blended table wines, along with the introduction of new products and contributions from acquisitions.
“We are also very encouraged by the solid improvement in our gross margin in the fourth quarter, and look for further growth in both sales and profitability in fiscal 2011,” said Chief Executive John Peller.
The company’s gross profit as a percentage of sales was 37.6 percent for the three months ended March 31, up from a 29.2 percent margin level in the same period last year.
The company, which imports wines from around the world to blend with domestic wines, also markets wine-making products. While most of the company’s sales are booked within Canada, it focuses on exporting icewine products.
$1=$1.04 Canadian Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Peter Galloway