The food interests of Japanese conglomerate Kirin Holdings have helped the business post a jump in operating profit for the first quarter of the year.

Kirin, which owns Australian businesses National Foods and Dairy Farmers, said today (7 May) its operating income more than doubled in the first quarter of 2010, climbing from JPY9.45bn (U$102m) a year ago to JPY23.85bn this year.

The result came as Kirin's soft drinks and food division swung to operating income of JPY124m from an operating loss of JPY3.96bn in the first quarter of 2009.

However, the division's sales tumbled 41.2% to JPY95.5bn due to a change in when National Foods reports its sales, Kirin said. Kirin's group sales were down 9.1% at JPY442.77bn.

A series of one-off charges, including integration costs and impairment losses, meant Kirin booked a net loss of JPY6.17bn. In the first quarter of 2009, Kirin reported net income of JPY6.16bn.