Australian dairy firm National Foods has posted a 17% rise in first-half profit and has reiterated its interest in acquiring Parmalat’s Australian operations.

National Foods reported net profit of A$33.5m (US$25.7m) for the six months to 31 December, compared to $28.6m in the year-ago period, helped by increased sales of yoghurt, chocolate milk and other high-margin dairy products, reported Reuters.

The company said it was still interested in acquiring the Australian operations of troubled Italian food group Parmalat.

“Local management from Parmalat in Australia have indicated that they have no immediate plans to sell that business, but if that were to change, we would be clearly interested in progressing talks,” chief executive Peter Margin was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The company also said it was looking to expand beyond its core dairy activities into gourmet products such as antipasto and pate.

National Foods said it was on target to meet its forecast of double-digit profit growth for the full year, indicating full-year profit of at least $66m.