Dutch food group Numico has posted a 25% increase in third-quarter operating earnings to EUR123m (US$157.1m), on the back of strong sales in Eastern Europe and Indonesia.

Reported sales increased by 26.1% to EUR657m for the third quarter. Numico’s overall EBITA margin was 18.8%, representing an improvement of 30 bps from the third quarter of 2005. Normalised profit and normalised basic earnings per share amounted to EUR69m and EUR0.36, up 22.2% and 10.6%, respectively.
For the nine months, Numico, which is Europe’s largest producer of baby formula, reported a 32.9% rise in sales to EUR1.93bn, comprising 11.6% in organic growth, 20.3% growth through acquisitions and 1.4% growth as a result of currency translation effects.
“Numico has delivered double-digit growth through the first nine months of 2006, with sales up 11.6%, accompanied by improved margins of 19.1%,” said the company’s CEO Jan Bennink. “Nutricia Baby achieved double-digit sales growth through strong performances in Eastern Europe, Indonesia and most growth markets in Western Europe. We are particularly pleased with the full recovery after the Indonesian earthquake and successful launch of the immunity claim in nearly all of our markets.”
Looking forward, the company said that it expects that total sales growth for the year will be around 12% with an EBITA margin of 18.75%.