Singapore-based Petra Foods posted an increase in first-half profit today (13 August) and said it remains “positive” for the second-half of 2009.

Net profit for the six months to 30 June climbed to US$8.3m, a 61.4% increase on the previous year.

CEO John Chuang said the company continued to “score big”, particularly in sales of its own and third party brands, despite the weakness in the global economy and volatility in foreign exchange rates.

Revenue also increased, reaching $571.2m from $516m in the comparable period of 2008.

EBITDA rose 23.1% on the previous year to reach $29m.

“All of our key consumer markets – Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore – have all done very well in driving higher sales volumes by introducing new products, adding new third party agencies and developing new channels, whilst deepening existing ones,” said Chuang. “Our core cocoa ingredients division continued its growth path …as a result of higher product pricing, coupled with strong customer demand.”

The group’s directors recommended an interim one-tier tax-exempt dividend of 1.48 Singapore cents per share to be paid on 15 September.

Petra Foods said it expects the positive first-half momentum to continue into the second half of the year for its cocoa ingredients and branded consumer divisions.