Groupe Coopagri Bretagne, the French food co-operative, has called 2008 an "atypical year" after posting a fall in annual profits of more than 10%.

The company, which has interests in cereals, dairy, meat and vegetables, booked a 10.6% fall in net profit to EUR10.9m (US$15.2m).

Coopagri said its dairy and cereal businesses were "in deficit" for the year.

However, the co-operative reported a 12% rise in turnover with sales reaching EUR1.95bn.

"The increase in turnover was due to rising prices for raw materials and products of intermediate consumption such as fertilizers," Coopagri said.

In the last 12 months, Coopagri has teamed up with a number of food industry players to boost its presence in the European food sector.

In January, Coopagri merged its milk production operations with two other French co-operatives - Even and Terrena. The combined business will be France's fifth-biggest milk processor.

Last September, Coopagri announced plans to combine its frozen vegetable business with Bonduelle.

Last August, Coopagri meat processing business Socopa was bought by beef processor Bigard for an undisclosed sum.