Brazilian meat and dairy group Perdigão has closed its first half with an increase of 20.8% in operating profit.

EBIT was up to BRL$225.7m (US$143.5m) from $186.8 for the same period last year.

The company posted an $830.8m net loss. In the first six months of 2007, Perdigão had a $133.5m net profit. Adjusted net profit for the first half of 2008 was at $153.5m.

Net sales between January and June rose 73.4% on the same period of 2007, to $5.29bn from $3.05bn.

Perdigão made over $2bn worth of investments in the first six months of 2008.

Last month the company announced plans to build a powdered milk processing plant in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

The facility will be Perdigao's second unit in Três de Maio, where it already runs a site that produces mozzarella.