Dutch dairy concern Royal Friesland Foods posted a net profit of EUR58m (US$73.8m) for the first half of 2006, up from EUR45m reported in the year-ago period.

Operating profit grew from EUR98m to EUR119m. Net sales grew from EUR2.19bn to EUR2.33bn.

The company said that the increase in operating profit was chiefly the consequence of higher sales and margin improvements in its Asian and West African units.

Higher selling prices, the stabilisation of raw material prices and other cost savings drive this improvement, Friesland said.