Underlying profits were up in 2013, FrieslandCampina said

Underlying profits were up in 2013, FrieslandCampina said

Dairy giant FrieslandCampina has reported a jump in annual underlying profits.

The Dutch group saw net profit fall 43.5% on a reported basis to EUR157m (US$218m) in 2013. The Yazoo milkshake owner booked goodwill impairment charges linked to its business in Europe, due to what it called the "persisting crisis" in the region.

Operating profit was down 35.7% at EUR313m.

However, without the impairment charges, net profit increased 17.6% to EUR327m. Operating profit rose 5.3% to EUR513m.

The dairy co-op said revenues were up 10.8% in 2013 at EUR11.4bn.

The group noted improved results from its consumer business in Asia, its ingredients and cheese division and its butter and milkpowder business unit.

However, FrieslandCampina highlighted the economic conditions in Europe put a strain on volumes and margins for its consumer arm in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

CEO Cees 't Hart said: "2013 was a good year for FrieslandCampina. The improved result was due primarily to volume growth in the three strategic growth categories [of] infant nutrition, dairy-based beverages and branded cheese, the passing on of the higher guaranteed price, far-reaching efficiency improvements in production, and cost control in the European operating companies."

However, FrieslandCampina noted the rises in commodity costs in 2013. It added the "persistently high price level" during the year "took producers and customers around the world by surprise".

The company said it was "remaining cautious" about 2014 and provided no financial forecasts based on recent trading conditions. 

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