Lithuania's largest dairy group Rokiskio Suris (Rokiskis Cheese) has reported a fall in first-half pretax profit to 6.313m litas (US$2.23m) 10.585m litas in the same period a year ago, reports the Baltic News Service.

"A rise of 34% percent in the price of raw milk in a year had the biggest impact on the company's profitability," said Dalius Trumpa, Rokiskio Suris production director. "The profitability level remains normal, however, due to increased cheese prices in the European Union and export subsidies."

He added that the company managed to lower its operating and sales costs by 17%.

Trumpa said also that they anticipate a higher profit in the second half and are keeping to their full-year profit target of at least 22.5m litas.

Sales for the first half rose by 8.5% year-on-year to 210.04m litas. Sales of cheese in the European Union almost doubled to reach 60m litas and sales in Russia also nearly doubled to 21m litas.

The company received 7.3m litas in export subsidies in the first half of this year, up from 2.1m litas a year earlier.