Sharp rise in profits for Bel

Related tags Cheese

French cheese maker Fromageries Bel has registered a sharp rise in
first half profits as a result of one-off gains from the sale of
its soft cheese business in April.

Fromageries Bel, the French cheese maker, has reported net profits of €24.9 million for the first half of 2002, a sharp increase on the €14.2 million registered in the same period of 2001.

Exceptional items contributed some €25.7 million to the half-yearly figures, all of which came from the sale of the company's Societe Anonyme des Fermiers Reunis (SAFR) soft cheese business at the end of April by compatriot Lactalis.

On a like-for-like basis, profits were up a more modest 1.8 per cent.

Operating profits dropped from €25.6 million to €20.6 million during the half, while turnover for the six month period was €829.2 million compared to €825.9 million in 2001.

Bel, whose brands include The Laughing Cow and Babybel, said in a statement that second half results, excluding exceptionals, "should improve compared to the first half, in particular due to an upturn in productivity and more favourable raw material prices".

The company added that the acquisition of Leerdammer from Dutch company Wessanen, announced last month, should be completed by the end of December.

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