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George Weston Ltd. reported its fourth-quarter profit rose compared with a year earlier, boosted in part by an improvement in its underlying business, increased ownership in Loblaw and a full year of direct ownership in Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust.

The retail, bakery and real estate business says its net earnings available to common shareholders totalled $433 million or $2.81 per diluted share, up from $271 million or $1.86 per diluted share in the last three months of 2018.

Sales totalled $12.1 billion, up from $11.7 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

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On an adjusted basis, George Weston say sit earned $1.69 per diluted share in the quarter, up from $1.59 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.87 per diluted share, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

George Weston’s businesses include Loblaw, Choice Properties and Weston Foods.

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