International food and drugstore retailer Dairy Farm posted a jump in annual pre-tax profit boosted by proceeds from the sale of Woolworths New Zealand.

For the year ended december 31 pre-tax profit rose to $358.4m from $49m last year on turnover which climbed to $4.9bn from 3.4bn in 2001.

Underlying profit for the group’s continuing operations rose by $69m to $102m as sales, including associates, jumped 7% to $4bn.

Chairman Simon Keswick said: “Our priority remains to build our existing operations, with particular emphasis on expanding hypermarket activities and on the development of our business in China.”

Dairy Farm sold its subsidiary in New Zealand in June 2002 - producing a gain on sale of $231m and a net cash inflow of $285m - as part of its strategy in recent years to focus on Asian businesses.