Malaysia-based confectioner Cocoaland has booked a drop in third-quarter profits, hurt by rising raw-material costs.

For the three months to the end of September, profits slid to MYR437,000 (US$140,922) from MYR3.35m earned last year. The firm attributed the loss to an increase in “certain materials costs” and higher machine commissioning costs.

Group sales, however, climbed 19.1% to MYR37.3bn.

The firm said it foresees that the local food and beverage industry will “remain resilient with intense competition in domestic and overseas markets”.

“Plans have been undertaken to expand production capacity. The board expects that the group will continue its growth for the fourth quarter of 2010,” it said.

Over the first nine months of 2010, profits dropped to MYR5.53m from MYR14.5m last year, although sales rose to MYR103.8m from MYR97.8m.

The company makes a range of snacks, beverages and confectionery, and has licence agreements to make Wrigley and GlaxoSmithKline products for the Malaysian market.

In August, it was announced that Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, the Malaysian arm of food and drink conglomerate Fraser & Neave, had signed a deal to take a 23.1% stake in Cocoaland.

Click here to view the full earnings release.