LONDON -- Dawson International PLC reported a net loss of $159.1 million (105.5 million pounds) at current exchange rates for the year ended March 26, following writeoffs and losses associated with the closing of its fleece and jersey business in the United States.

Sales, including discontinued operations, rose 2.6 percent to $668.3 million (443.1 million pounds).

A year earlier, the firm posted net profit of 6.65 million pounds on sales of 431.7 million pounds.

Last year's writeoffs came to a total of $160.4 million (106.46 million pounds), including $75.4 million (50 million pounds) for the closure or sale of the United States fleece and jersey and home furnishings businesses. The group also wrote off $85 million (56.4 million pounds) in goodwill associated with the acquisition of these operations.

Excluding these operations, operating profits at Dawson's continuing businesses rose 16.8 percent to $62 million (41.1 million pounds) on a 10.6 percent increase in sales to $493.9 million (327.5 million pounds). Sir Ronald Miller, chairman, said there were strong performances from the Pringle operation, where sales rose 12 percent, and Ballantyne Cashmere, which had a 60 percent rise in operating profits.

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