China’s Emerald Dairy posted “record” first-quarter earnings today (18 May) as the company benefited from a fall in operating costs.

The producer and distributor of infant and children’s formula posted a net income for the three-month period to the end of March of US$1.5m compared to $2,818 in the previous year.

The figure reflected “normalised earning power” without the impact of one-time charges, the company said.

Total revenues for the first quarter rose to $10.8m from $10.4m for the comparable period of 2008 as the company kept its production facilities operating 24 hours a day at maximum capacity.

Total operating expenses for the period decreased to $3.1m from $4.3m in the previous year.

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Earnings per share grew to a record $0.05 from $0.00 in the year-ago period.

Shu Kaneko, CFO of Emerald Dairy, said: “The management and employees of Emerald Dairy made significant progress toward the company’s stated goals. The continued strong growth opportunities available to us in our target markets supports our plans to triple our production capacity and revenues in the next three years, beginning with the completion of our new processing plant in Hailun City later this year.”

The company began construction of a new production facility in July 2008. The first phase is expected to cost around $20m. The new facility will have one production line with the capacity to produce an additional 9,000 tons of milk power annually, doubling the company’s current capacity.