A tight control on costs and the disposal of "unprofitable" businesses boosted earnings at US-based Vita Foods during the first half of the year.

The company posted a 28% leap in operating profit to US$973,000 for the six months to the end of June.

The growth in profits came despite flat sales, Vita Foods said. Net sales came in at $24.5m, compared to $24.6m a year earlier.

"Cost controls and the removal of some unprofitable business contributed to these results," said Vita Foods president and CEO Clifford Bolen. "In the second half of 2007, we will seek to increase our revenues through new product growth and re-gained distribution."

Vita Foods' key divisions are in seafood and speciality food. The company said seafood sales fell almost 10% to just under $12m due to lower sales from salmon.

Revenue from the Vita Foods' speciality business rose 11% to $12.5m thanks to rising sales of its sauces.