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OSAKA (Kyodo) Instant noodle giant Nissin Food Products Co. said Friday its group sales in business 2006 increased 11.4 percent from the previous year to a record 358.24 billion yen, including half-year sales at Myojo Co., which Nissin acquired last year.

Nissin made Myojo a consolidated subsidiary through a friendly tender offer carried out to counter a hostile buyout attempt launched by U.S. investment fund Steel Partners for the smaller instant noodle maker last fall.

“Nissin and Myojo will conduct their joint procurement and marketing operations to produce synergy effects of their integration,” Nissin Managing Director Susumu Nakagawa told a news conference.

For business 2006, which ended in March, Nissin saw its unconsolidated sales fall 2.9 percent to 236.94 billion yen.

Nissin said its group net profit for the year expanded 23.3 percent to a new high of 18.97 billion yen on a substantial decline in extra losses, including appraisal losses on properties.

Nissin raised its per-share dividend for the year to 50 yen from 30 yen in the previous year.

Nakagawa said Steel Partners, which has become the largest shareholder for Nissin, has made no request for talks on any dividend hike.

In the earnings report for fiscal 2006, Nissin noted that it spent 300 million yen on a funeral the company sponsored for its founder, Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant and cup noodles, who died at the age of 96 in January.

For business 2007, Nissin expects to expand group sales 13.6 percent from the previous year to 407 billion yen, including Myojo’s full-year sales. Group net profit is projected at 21.5 billion yen, up 13.3 percent.

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