KANSAS CITY — American Italian Pasta Co.’s net income for the first quarter ended Jan. 2 was $26,028,000, equal to $1.28 per share on the common stock, up sharply from $1,394,000, or 7c per share, in the same period a year ago. Revenues increased 53% to $171,206,000, which compared with $111,723,000 in the previous year.

"Our strong first-quarter results continue the trend that began in fiscal year 2007, as we continue to deliver solid growth in revenue and net income," said Jack Kelly, president and chief executive officer. "Our growth strategy to leverage our market leadership in ‘customer brands’ and focus resources on our strongest proprietary retail brands is paying off.

"Under this market approach, we will continue to look for new ways to partner with customers to promote the nutritional and economic value of pasta as well as its versatility as a center-of-the-plate staple. While economic uncertainty and fluctuating commodity prices continue to pose challenges, we remain confident in our strategic plan and growth prospects going forward."

Institutional revenues increased 43% to $35.1 million during the first quarter, primarily due to a 36% increase in higher average selling prices and a 7% increase in higher volume. Retail revenues increased 56% to $136.1 million, primarily because of a 45% increase related to higher average selling prices and a 16% increase in volumes.