Irish dairy and nutritional products group Glanbia has posted a leap in profits for the first half of the year thanks in part to strong sales.

The company saw net profit climb 26% to EUR33.8m (US$45.9m) for the six months to the end of June, on the back of a 13% rise in sales to just over EUR1bn.

Operating profit rose by a third to EUR48.5m, reflecting, Glanbia said, the changing mix of its business towards added-value food ingredients and buoyant world dairy markets.

The company's food ingredients and nutritionals division saw sales rise by 23% to EUR621.3m, with operating profit increasing by 135% to EUR28.4m.

Food Ingredients USA and the global nutritionals businesses were the drivers of this improved performance, Glanbia said.

However, revenue from Glanbia's consumer foods division fell by 1.3% to EUR249m, with operating profit down 1.6% at EUR8.34m.

Group managing director John Moloney expressed satisfaction with the first half performance, particularly in the US food ingredients and global nutritional products businesses, and gave an upbeat forecast for the rest of the year. "Overall, the outlook for Glanbia is very satisfactory and we expect a strong performance again in the second half," Moloney said.

Glanbia said it expects to deliver full-year earnings growth in the high teens, which is above current market expectations.