Improving second-quarter earnings has not been enough to stop a slump in half-year profits at Finland-based food group Lännen Tehtaat.

The company, which trades in food commodities and operates in the frozen food and seafood sectors, today (14 August) posted operating profit, excluding non-recurring items, came to EUR1.6m (US$2.9m) for the three months to June.

That figure was down on the second quarter of 2008, when underlying operating profit stood at EUR1.8m.

However, in the first three months of 2009,  Lännen Tehtaat posted an operating loss of EUR700,000, leading the company to post half-year operating profit of EUR900,000. In 2008, first-half profits stood at EUR2.3m.

CEO Matti Karppinen said the company’s second-quarter performance was “considerable better” than in the first three months of 2009.

“In all our operating segments the operating result was an improvement on the first-quarter figures,” Karpinnen said. “The year-on-year drop in consolidated net sales was mainly the result of the sharp fall in grain and oilseed market prices.”

In the second quarter, net sales from continuing operations totalled EUR65.5m, down from EUR101m. Over the first half of 2009, net sales were down 32% at EUR130.2m.