Dutch dairy products maker Royal Friesland Foods today (Thursday) announced a rise in net profits to €70m (US$93.98m) in 2004 from €56m in 2003.

Sales were €4.449bn in 2004, compared with €4.575bn in 2003.

“The result in Europe improved mainly due to cost control and lower pension charges,” the company said. “Outside Europe, sales volumes grew. Unfavourable foreign exchange effects, higher raw material prices on the world market, reduced export refunds and the impact of the price war between Dutch supermarkets put pressure on the result.”

Friesland blamed the fall in turnover on the effect of interest rates and a 2% drop in the volume of milk supplied by its Dutch member dairy farmers. “At constant exchange rates turnover was approximately the same as in the previous year,” it said.