ATCHISON, Kan., Oct. 21, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MGP Ingredients, Inc. (Nasdaq:MGPI) today held its annual meeting of stockholders. Following a welcome and introductions by Board Chairman John Speirs, a business overview was provided by Tim Newkirk, president and chief executive officer. Newkirk said, "Over the past year we made real progress on several fronts. As previously reported, we ended fiscal 2010 with net income of $8.7 million, an exceptionally rapid and dramatic turnaround from the net loss of $69.1 million that we experienced in fiscal 2009. We achieved this on a nearly 31 percent decrease in net sales, which resulted from our strategic focus on reducing commodity sales and creating a higher value mix of specialty proteins and starches and high quality food grade alcohol products. For example, we achieved profitability for every quarter in our specialty ingredients segment. The value-added mix of products was more than 80 percent of total sales in this segment as we phased out lower margin categories. Growth in our distillery products segment was mainly due to increased sales of food grade alcohol for industrial applications. "Higher profits and cash generated from the sale of assets enabled us to significantly pay down debt. At the end of fiscal 2010 we had less than $3 million in debt, a significant decrease from $30.6 million at the beginning of the fiscal year and an even greater decrease from $54.5 million at the start of the prior fiscal year. MGPI also fortified its high quality alcohol capabilities by forming a joint venture, Illinois Corn Processing, LLC (ICP). We saw higher volumes and increasing profit from this operation following the start-up phase, and we have plans to strengthen our capabilities and focus on food grade alcohol in the future." He continued, "While our profitability has improved, we're setting out to make our good company a great company - great to work with, great to work for and great to invest in. Our business is focused on serving large multi-national companies that manufacture packaged consumer goods. New products are the key to our customers' ability to increase sales and market share. We want to play a critical role with our customer partners in developing new products."