Scotland's biggest milk producer, Robert Wiseman Dairies, has said its half-year sales were in line with estimates.

"The company's sales volumes and turnover for the half-year ending 27 September 2003 are in line with forecasts and the company remains confident it will deliver satisfactory results for the full year," it said in a statement. 

Group finance director Billy Keane said the company's £7.2m (US$11.5m) expansion of its Droitwich Spa facility is to be completed on schedule in October, increasing the plant's capacity from 350 to 500 million litres per year.

"We are confident this capacity will be successfully utilised by a combination of anticipated market growth, as the doorstep market continues to decline with a corresponding increase in the multiple retailer sector, and new store allocations from our customers," Keane was quoted by Dow Jones News as saying

He added that Wiseman's new contracts with supermarket chains Tesco and Sainsbury's, which began in April, had started positively.

Keane said the company was awaiting with interest the outcome of the Safeway takeover battle and the Competition Commission inquiry into the proposed takeover of Express Dairies by Arla Foods.

"We are confident that, whatever the outcome of these inquiries, we are well placed to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise," Keane said.