Insolvent Italian food group Parmalat has reported a 16% rise in core profit for the eight months to 31 August, but its debt also rose.

The company said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to €152.7m (US$189.4m) from €116.2m a year earlier. However, total debt rose from €13.66bn on 31 December 2003 to €14.04bn at the end of August.

The company said the increase in core earnings was due to "commercial actions" and lower operating and structural costs, reported Reuters.

Revenues fell to €2.78bn compared to €2.97bn a year earlier.