Irish food and agriculture cooperative IAWS, has announced a rise in pre-tax profits for the six months ended 31 January 2005 to €49.673m (US$66.58m), compared with €33.397m in the same period a year earlier.

Group turnover was €653.3m compared with €599.7m in the year-earlier period.

"The Group had a satisfactory performance in the first six months," said
group chief executive Owen Killian. "Geographic diversification continued with a strategic acquisition in France bringing an additional range of quality food concepts to the Group.  Our business in North America performed very well following the commissioning of new production facilities during the period."

There was some margin erosion in our food business due to our ongoing business integration in the UK and trading conditions continue to be difficult in Nutrition/Agri," he said.  "The Group continues to generate substantial free cash and is well placed to continue its expansion."