Israeli food maker Strauss Group has posted a 55.3% drop in net income for the first nine months of 2009 as the company lapped a one-off gain booked last year.

The accounting income for Strauss shareholders in the first nine months of the year totalled NIS174m (US$46.2m) compared to NIS338m last year.

The decrease was due to last year's proceeds of Strauss's sale of a stake in Strauss Coffee to private-equity firm TPG Capital.

Reported sales for the period ended 30 September totalled NIS4.66bn, a dip of 0.5%. After stripping out the effect of foreign exchange, growth amounted to 3.6%.

Pro-forma operating profit over the nine months rose 2% to NIS429m. The increase was due to an increase in operating profit in the company's domestic business, which improved by 9.9%.

Gadi Lesin, president and CEO of Strauss Group, said: "During the first nine months, Strauss succeeded in meeting its pre-defined goals, improving both its gross and operating profits with organic sales growth. In addition the company generated significant cash flow indicating the financial strength of the group."

For the third quarter, Strauss posted a posted a net income of NIS62m, a 75% drop on 2008, while revenue decreased 1.4% to NIS1.62bn.

Third-quarter, pro-forma operating profit climbed 2% to NIS159m.