An improved financial performance from Raisio’s agribusiness arm offset lower revenue and flat earnings from brands to give the Benecol owner an increase in first-half profits.

Finland-based Raisio booked EBIT of EUR18.4m (US$24.5m) for the first six months of the year, up from EUR17.3m last year.

The company’s Raisioagro business posted an operating profit of EUR700,000, compared to an operating loss of EUR1.4m in the first half of 2012. Raisioagro sales increased 4.2% to EUR124.4m.

However, EBIT from Raisio’s brand division, which supplies products including Honey Monster cereal, dipped from EUR20m in the first half of last year to EUR19.9m. Excluding a one-off charge related to the sale of its non-dairy business to Kavli in March, EBIT from brands would have stood at EUR20.5m.

Raisio said its branded sales fell 8% to EUR153.3m. The company said it had cut some SKUs and participated less in “retailers’ low-profitable promotional activities”.

Taking in what Raisio called “other operations”, its group EBIT was up 6.4% to EUR18.4m. Sales were down 3% at EUR276.9m.

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The company’s net profit, benefiting from a steep fall in finance costs, was up from EUR2.2m last year to EUR13.2m.

Shares in Raisio were down 1.08% at EUR3.67 at 12:59 CET.

Click here for the full statement from Raisio.