Italian food group Parmalat has reported third-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for its core operations of €61.1m (US$77.9m), compared to a pro forma €46.7m.

The company's core sales slid to €901.8m for the three months to 30 September from a pro forma €956.1m, reported Reuters.

Parmalat said its results had been boosted by successful marketing initiatives and lower operating costs. The company hopes to return to net profit in 2005 after selling off unprofitable units to focus on its core operations.

The group was the subject of a serious financial scandal after a massive hole was discovered in its accounts late last year.