Shares in Dutch food group CSM closed up today (8 August) after the company reported half-year profits that beat analyst forecasts and it provided an update on the planned sale of its bakery business.

CSM shares finished 3.05% higher on the day at EUR13 despite reporting EBITA of EUR73.7m (US$91.1m), down 8.1% on the year.

However, a Reuters poll of analysts had expected EBITA of EUR69.6m.

CSM also announced it expected to have “made significant progress” on the sale of its bakery business by “early 2013”.

The company announced in May that it would sell off its bakery operations in Europe and North America and focus on bio-based ingredients.

CSM supplies donuts, cookies and muffins to customers including Starbucks and UK retailer Asda. It also sells bakery ingredients to major industrial bakers. However, volatile commodity costs, weak consumer demand and a shift by shoppers to buy more bread at major retailers than at artisan bakers has hit the business.

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The company said it did not have the resources to “exploit” both trends and had decided to look to sell its bakery businesses.

CSM’s first-half results also contained an increase in net sales on the back of price increases and acquisitions in the UK and France.