Robert Wiseman Dairies said its first-half results are "consistent" with its expectations, despite booking a drop in profits.

For the six months ended 2 October, the company, which supplies milk to the likes of Tesco's and Sainsbury's, booked a 3.5% decline in profit before tax to GBP20.2m (US$32.5m). The drop however, was mitigated by a lower tax charge for the period, resulting in a 1.5% increase in profit after tax for the period to GBP15.1m, the firm said.

Turnover increased by 6.8% to GBP452.8m in the period, with sales volumes increasing by 8%.

Operating profit however, slid 2.7% to GBP21m, resulting in an operating margin of 4.6%.

"We recently reported intense competitive pressures across all sectors of the market," the firm said in a statement. "As highlighted at that time, we anticipate this will impact our second-half trading profit by around GBP7m and, assuming no improvement in margins or volume gains, by approximately GBP16m in the financial year to 31 March 2012.

"As a result, the business is focused on addressing the reduction in margins through the ongoing reduction in costs along with steps to maximise efficiencies across the business," it added.

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