Rising production and procurement costs have hit half-year profits at fruit and veg group Fresh Del Monte Produce, despite a jump in sales.

The company today (29 July) posted operating income of US$98.1m for the six months to 27 June, down from $127.1m a year earlier.

Sales climbed from $1.76bn a year ago to $1.87bn as Fresh Del Monte increased banana prices during the second quarter amid an industry-wide shortage and higher demand.

Chairman and CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh said the last three months had been "an exciting period" for Fresh Del Monte but admitted there had been "challenges" with higher costs.

In June, the company bought banana and gold pineapple business Caribana, while the company also bought melon production assets from a venture partner in Costa Rica during the quarter.

"The Caribana acquisition will generate significant synergies, while at the same time we are aggressively pursuing price increases. We firmly believe in our business - today more than ever - and we are extremely enthusiastic about the opportunities we see ahead."