Danish dairy co-operative Arla Foods has posted a jump in 2010 earnings and pointed to the development of its “strong” brands, an improving economic landscape and cost control.

The group yesterday (22 February) reported a 30.5% increase in net earnings for the year ended 31 December to DKK1.3bn (US$238m), while turnover rose 6% to DKK49bn.

“The result shows that we have put the recession behind us and that we’re in control of our costs,” said CEO Peder Tuborgh.

Tuborgh emphasised the company’s commitment to long-term growth, highlighting its plans to build the world’s largest fresh milk dairy in the UK as well as its plans to streamline and invest in its ingredients business.

CFO Frederik Lotz said the co-operative will look to make acquisitions and also work on strengthening its organic growth in 2011. “We want to grow through acquisitions, partnerships and mergers – such as the proposed merger in Germany. Nevertheless, organic growth is key to our strategy and it reflects our ability to expand our existing business,” he said.

Arla is currently in talks to merge with German dairy co-operative Hansa-Milch.

He added that the company is aiming to develop “three strong global brands” but that the Arla brand generated slightly less revenue against 2009 as Danish consumers traded down.