The acquisition of Peters helped margins, R&R said

The acquisition of Peters helped margins, R&R said

R&R Ice Cream, the UK-based ice cream maker, has reported higher sales and earnings for the first nine months of the year, helped by last year's acquisition of Australia's Peters Food Group.

The company, which manufactures branded and private-label ice cream, posted a 17.3% rise in revenue to EUR784.4m (US$829.6m) for the period to the end of September. R&R said it had also seen a benefit from exchange rates, with a chunk of the business reporting sales in sterling. Sales excluding the impact of sterling were up 13.8%.

The increase in sales led to a 45.1% jump in profit from operating activities of EUR112.7m.

A near-30% fall in finance expenses led R&R to book a profit of EUR48.5m, compared to a loss of EUR13.6m in the corresponding period a year earlier.

R&R said Peters is "a predominantly branded business", which, despite needing higher marketing support, has helped boost the company's profitability.

The group reported a mixed performance in Europe. Sales in the UK fell due to "poor weather" this summer. In Germany, sales were also down due to contract renewals earlier in the year and a slow start to 2015 more broadly in the country. R&R said it had seen some improvement in the third quarter.

Sales in France rose due to what the company called "a buoyant market over July" and "a marked increase" in its branded business.

In Italy, sales were higher year-on-year thanks to growth from the company's branded and private-label businesses.

In Poland, R&R said its own-label sales were down but there was growth in the branded side of its business thanks to products the company makes under licence from Mondelez International.

Last month, R&R confirmed it was in talks over a possible international frozen food and ice cream venture with another licence partner, Nestle.

The companies have been looking at a transaction that would see R&R combine its business with Nestle's operations in Europe, Egypt, the Philippines, Brazil and Argentina, as well as the bulk of the food giant's frozen food operations in Europe.

The 50/50 venture would not include all of Nestle's ice cream businesses. The US, for example, is not part of the talks. Nestle also said its European frozen pizza unit would not be part of the venture.