Dutch food group Vion said it remains “positive” about 2009, despite posting a drop in 2008 profits.

Net profit for the period dropped 57% to EUR54m (US$73m) as a result of a higher raw materials prices and the inability to pass the cost through the supply chain. This was compounded by the negative influence of the low value of sterling and US dollar on the company’s competitiveness.

Turnover, however, increased 21% to EUR8.6bn due to acquisitions and autonomous turnover growth.

EBITA decreased 36% to EUR141m.

The company said it has delivered its strategic ambition as a European food company following the acquisition of the UK company Grampian Country Food Group.

Following a restructure in March, Vion’s business model now consists of two core activities: food and ingredients, which are regionally controlled.

“Vion is moderately positive about 2009,” the company said. “The expectation is that the market situation will clearly be influenced by 2008’s global economic recession. This will be expressed through increasing price consciousness among both clients and consumers which, in turn, will affect the entire production chain.”

Vion said its food division has taken the increasing demand for cheaper products into account and that its ingredients division expects lower prices for animal fats and proteins on the basis of decreasing energy and raw materials prices in 2009.