US group Michael Foods saw increased interest costs hit its earnings in the first quarter of 2010, the firm said today (14 May).

For the three-month period the company earned US$17.5m, a decrease of 16% on the year. The drop was partly due to increased interest costs related to the firm’s May 2009 refinancing.

For the quarter ended 3 April, net sales also dropped, by 1.5% to $395.3m.

CEO and president James Dwyer said: “Our first-quarter EBITDA results were driven by improved performance by our egg products division due to stronger volumes of higher value-added pre-cooked products in the foodservice channel, offset slightly by weaker market conditions in the food ingredient channel.”

Dwyer said results from the firm’s potato products division “improved”, with the 2009 period containing “unusual” costs tied to a voluntary product recall.

“Our free cash flow remains strong. We continue to invest in our businesses and a major capital project – our new potato processing plant – is nearly complete,” Dwyer said.