Swedish confectioner Cloetta has posted a rise in first-half comparable earnings on the back of improved sales.

Excluding the impact of last year's demerger between Cloetta and Fazer, sales of Cloetta products increased by 7%. However, total sales fell to SEK581m (US$80.7m) in the first half, down from SEK735m, reflecting the discontinuation of Fazer products.

Excluding items affecting comparability, operating profit for the six months to the end of February rose to SEK37m from SEK25m, the company added.

Operating margin was 6.4%, up from 4.1% last year.

“The improvement in earnings is attributable to continued high efficiency in production and strong Christmas sales also in our first quarter,” Cloetta MD and CEO Curt Petri said.