Dutch food group Wessanen today (28 October) insisted its third-quarter numbers had met expectations despite a drop in operating profit – although its shares fell on the news.

Wessanen booked operating profit of EUR1.6m (US$2.2m) for the three months to the end of September, down from EUR5m a year earlier. Investment in marketing, sales and IT had weighed on operating profit, the company said.

Third-quarter revenue was up 1.2% at EUR173.4m, although sales on an organic basis fell 2%. Wessanen’s net profit stood at EUR1m, against a net loss of EUR20.1m a year ago.

Wessanen CEO Piet Hein Merckens said 2010 had been a year of investment to “strengthen and consolidate” its core business.

“While Wessanen has clear pockets of strength, we will need to standardise our processes and leverage best practices to a greater degree. Centralised sourcing, innovation, category management and brand harmonisation in accordance with well defined consumer benefit platforms are other key areas for us. We are further fine tuning our strategy to increase our focus,” the Wessanen chief said.

Shares in Wessanen were down 1.9% at EUR2.63 at 11:29 CET this morning.