Finland-based food group Lannen Tehtaat has booked a fall in third-quarter profits on the back of slower sales growth.

The company posted net profit of EUR700,000 (US$997,000) for the three months to the end of September, down from EUR1.1m a year ago.

Net sales were up 3% at EUR65.9m, although over the first nine months of the year, net sales rose 14% to EUR220.8m.

Lannen Tehtaat’s third-quarter operating profit stood at EUR1.3m, up from EUR1m a year earlier. Excluding non-recurring items, the EUR1.3m in operating profit matched the EUR1.3m generated in last year’s third quarter.

“Profit performance continued to be steady during the third quarter,” said CEO Matti Karppinen. “Both frozen foods and other operations posted a year-on-year improvement in their profits. Grains and oilseeds managed  the strong and rapid changes in market prices well, bringing the profit almost to the previous year’s level. In seafood, the result was down on the previous year’s figure.”

One positive note for Lannen Tehtaat came with an improvement in its operating profit forecast for 2010.

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After its second-quarter results, the company predicted that operating profit excluding non-recurring items would be “at least at the level of 2009”. Now, after three quarters of numbers, the group sees operating profit exceeding 2009’s result.