Dutch food group Wessanen has reported higher underlying first-quarter profits, helped by improved sales from its brands and by last summer's acquisition of organic and Fairtrade firm France Alter Eco.

Wessanen today (25 April) booked a net profit of EUR5m (US$6.9m) for the three months to the end of March, down slightly from EUR5.1m a year earlier.

However, its bottom line was affected by losses from discontinued operations. Profit from continuing operations grew from EUR4.7m in the first quarter of 2013 to EUR5.6m.

EBIT was up 24.3% at EUR9.2m, Wessanen, which sells brands including Bjorg, Kallø and Whole Earth, said.

The higher underlying earnings came on the back of improved sales. Revenue was up 4.3% at EUR129.6m.

Branded sales jumped 8% to EUR109.9m. Revenue from brands increased 4.1% on an organic basis. Alter Eco, bought last year to bolster Wessanen's presence in organic food, added four points of growth.

Wessanen said "core brands" performed well, driven by the likes of Zonnatura and Tartex. The company's "tactical brands" saw sales slide, although the group said that was due to "deliberate actions" to improve profits.

Shares in Wessanen were up 2.67% at EUR4.11 at 13:21 CET.