Rising sales in North America have boosted third-quarter revenue and earnings at Netherlands-based food group Wessanen.

The company said today (28 October) that, once currency fluctuations were stripped out of the results, third-quarter turnover was up 5.7% to EUR410m (US$513m).

On a reported basis, turnover dipped from EUR387.9m during the third quarter of 2008 to EUR386.9m due to the strength of the euro against sterling and the US dollar.

Wessanen said operating profit was up during the quarter, even after accounting for a "negative currency effect" of EUR1.8m. Profits reached EUR14.1m for the three months to the end of September compared to EUR13.1m a year ago.

North America accounts for over half of Wessanen's turnover and sales from the company's branded business on the continent were up 7.2% during the quarter. Revenue from its distribution operations in North America climbed 5.5%.

Sales from its branded business in Europe climbed 3.9%, while its distribution unit on the continent grew by 5.5%, Wessanen said.

Wessanen CEO Ad Veenhof said: "We are satisfied to see that revenue and profit figures continue to reflect steady growth in the third quarter. Moreover, we are delighted that profitability levels at North America Distribution and our European Health brands in particular, showed a solid improvement in comparison with the same quarter last year."