Finnish food group Raisio has posted first-quarter EBIT of EUR5m (US$6.7m), up 20% on a comparable basis from last year.

EBIT for the first quarter represented 5.1% of net sales, which fell to EUR98.6m, from EUR118.9m in the first quarter of 2008.

CEO Matti Rihko said the first-quarter result was in line with forecasts. “Our EBIT gives reason for satisfaction in view of the global economic situation,” Rihko added. “Economical, ecological and healthy products sold under strong and safe brands appear to be doing well in this recession. Despite its setbacks, the feed and malt division also reported a positive BIT.”

Rihko said that Raisio would be compensating its livestock producers for damages caused by the recent salmonella outbreak linked to Raisio’s feed unit, in compliance with the Feed Act. He said it was impossible at this time to estimate the overall amount of compensation, but added that the company does have “comprehensive insurance cover”.

Raisio said its outlook for 2009 remains unchanged. In spite of some volatility in quarterly results in some divisions, the company said it expects group volumes to develop “moderately in annual terms”. The trend in net sales will depend on crop prices in 2009, Raisio added.

The company said profitability would also develop moderately, and the operating result is predicted to represent 4-5% of net sales.