Nathan’s Famous Inc. sales increased but its net income fell sharply in its latest fiscal year, as it began making hefty debt payments, the company reported Friday.

The Jericho-based hot dog maker reported its profits declined by nearly 48 percent, to about $6.1 million for the fiscal year that ended March 27.

Its interest expense rose to $14.6 million, from $816,000 the previous year. The increase is due to the company’s issuing $135 million in bonds in March 2015, at an interest rate of 10 percent. Nathan’s took on the debt to pay a $25-per-share special, one-time dividend to investors.

Nathan’s reported that revenue grew by 1.8 percent year over year, to $100.9 million in the latest fiscal year. Its income from operations posted a 25 percent annual gain, to nearly $25 million.

The company’s stock closed up almost 4 percent, to $44.40.

The company earned $19.8 million in license royalties from retail sales in the 2016 fiscal year, up 10 percent from a year before. Nathan’s gave much of the credit to its 2014 agreement with John Morrell & Co., a division of food industry giant Smithfield Foods, which is now manufacturing, selling and marketing Nathan’s franks.

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Nathan’s has seen “significant” growth in sales of packaged hot dogs “as a result of more effective sales, marketing and promotional strategies,” the company said in a news release.

Earnings per diluted share fell to $1.37 in the 2016 fiscal year, from $2.55 for the previous year.

Nathan’s chief executive Eric Gatoff said the company’s retail and food services sales and its company-owned restaurants “all delivered outstanding results,” helping Nathan’s achieve its highest-ever income from operations.