Belgium-based frozen foods group PinguinLutosa has posted a rise in first-quarter sales as the company succeeded in passing on higher potato prices.

The company yesterday (26 April) booked a 4.5% increase in sales to EUR118.6m (US$174m) for the three months to the end of March.

Revenues from PinguinLutosa's potato division jumped 12.6% to EUR60.3m. Sales from the company's deep-frozen vegetable unit, however, fell 2.8% to EUR58.3m. The strength of sterling improved the sales performance from PinguinLutosa's vegetable unit; at constant currencies, sales would have fallen 4.6%.

Volumes from both divisions fell but PinguinLutosa said the 14% decrease in potato volumes was "more than compensated by the increased sales price, which was caused by the strong increase of the purchase price of fresh potatoes". Deep-frozen vegetable volumes fell 6.5%.

PinguinLutosa, meanwhile, said the start of its planned "co-operation" with French co-operative CECAB has been pushed back from 1 May to 1 July.

In October, PinguinLutosa announced plans to take control of CECAB's deep-frozen vegetable business. The deal also allowed for CECAB take a stake in PinguinLutosa.

PinguinLutosa's acquisition of canned foods firm Scana Noliko, announced last month, is still due to be completed on 1 July.