Australian food ingredients group Burns Philp & Co. said on Monday that despite a decline in sales, net profit had risen sharply to A$56.8 million (€32m) in the first quarter ended 30 September compared to A$19.2 million a year ago.
A stronger Australian dollar and the devaluation of the Argentine peso had harmed sales for the fourth quarter for Burns Philp & Co. but "initiatives implemented in the 2002 financial year led to an increase in trading earnings," reported the company. The jump was due mainly to the sale of its terminals business and a Melbourne property.
"Trading results for the period were satisfactory and in line with our expectations," Burns Philp added in a statement on Monday. The Australian company remains confident that despite facing tougher trading conditions, "the nature of our products, and the global spread of our businesses has allowed us tomore than offset these affects".
Earlier this month, the company announced its intentions to expand in the emerging Latin American market with the acquisition of US Kraft Foods' yeast and industrial bakery ingredients business in Latin America. The move confirmed rumours dating from the beginning of 2002.