Norwegian conglomerate Orkla has booked a decline in first-half profits from its FMCG division.

The loss of contract production in the second half of 2011 had a negative impact on the unit’s earnings in the six months to the end of June, as EBITDA slid 23% to NOK1.11bn (US$182.4m). Sales in the period also dropped, by 4% to NOK11.24bn.

However, the firm’s branded consumer goods unit recorded underlying sales growth of 1.5% in the first half, with “stable” development in the Nordic markets.

The group, however, returned to profit in the period, with pre-tax profits amounting to NOK2.09bn (US$344.4m) compared to a loss of NOK472m last year.

Group EBITA edged up to NOK1.88bn, a 1.07% increase on the prior-year period.

Sales, however, dropped 3.1% to NOK29.94bn as the company recorded sales declines in its Sapa aluminium division.