Brazilian food group Perdigao saw operating income and sales jump in 2008 although the Brazilian real’s devaluation against the US dollar hammered net earnings.

The meat-to-dairy group posted a 41% jump in EBIT to BRL709m (US$317.3m) for 2008 as acquisitions and rising exports boosted sales.

Net sales climbed 72% to BRL11.39bn, with meat exports up 54% and processed dairy shipments up 38.8%. In all, export sales rose 58%.

Domestic dairy sales more than quadrupled, although over half of Perdigao’s home-grown business comes from its meat business, which saw volumes of processed meat products rise 11.3%.

However, Perdigao saw its net income slump 83% due to the real’s devaluation against the US dollar and financial charges.

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Last week, it emerged that Perdigao had been in talks with rival meat processor Sadia over a potential tie-up. Perdigao, however, declined to comment on the negotiations when reporting its results.