Belgium-based Ter Beke has reported a sharp drop in half-year profits, due to higher raw material costs and one-off charges.

For the six months to the end of June, the meat and ready meals group said net profit sank by 31% on the same period of last year, to EUR3.1m (US$3.9m). Profits were hampered by EUR1.3m of restructuring charges related to the firm’s closure of a ready meal facility in France, plus a EUR0.3m impairment charge.

However, profits were also hit by higher raw material costs and customers trading down to cheaper meat products. EBITDA fell by 11.6% for the period, to EUR14.4m.

Despite Ter Beke’s difficulties at the bottom line, net sales increased by 5% to EUR208m. The group noted a particularly strong increase in lasagne sales over the six months. Its meat business also saw stronger net sales than in the prior-year period, although volumes were flat.

Looking ahead, the group said it could not offer guidance on its performance in the second-half, due to “unexpected additional rises in raw material prices” within a tough economic climate.

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