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Ulker Hits Highest Since 2004 as Profit Triples: Istanbul Mover

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May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Ulker Biskuvi Sanayi AS, Turkey’s largest confectioner and part owner of the Godiva chocolate brand, closed at the highest in more than eight years after first-quarter profit more than tripled.

Ulker jumped 13 percent to 6.14 liras, the biggest rise since February 2007 and the strongest level since March 2004.

Net income climbed to 55.8 million liras ($32 million) from 16.4 million liras a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange after the market closed yesterday.

“Ulker’s financials not only reflect the positive contribution of the high-margin chocolate business, but also operational efficiency improvement, which resulted in a margin increase to 8 percent from 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011,” Melda Agirdas, an analyst at Ekspres Invest in Istanbul, said in an e-mailed report today. “The positive improvement in efficiency implies better results ahead.”

Ulker will pay 0.82 lira a share in dividends on May 28, it said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Bentley in Istanbul at mbentley3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at rhamade@bloomberg.net

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