Strauss-Elite, the Israeli food and beverage group, has reported a 20.2% increase in sales for the third quarter to ILS1.34bn (US$310.3m).

Reported quarterly net profit reached ILS70.6m, against ILS56.5m in the third quarter of last year. Pro-forma net profit, which excludes one-time items including a capital gain in the third quarter, rose by 7.5% to LIS62.7m. Operating profit rose by 9.3% to LIS119.2m.

Sales for the first nine months increased by 24.4% to LIS3.84bn. Nine-month operating profit was up by 13.7% at LIS331.1m. Net profit for the nine months was LIS303.1m, against LIS128.2m in the corresponding period last year, while the pro-forma net profit for the nine-month period rose by 12.7% to LIS177.5m.

"Strauss-Elite has presented yet another quarter of double-digit growth with continued improvement in both operating and net profit," said president and CEO Erez Vigodman. "The accelerated growth was due mainly to the broadening of our international business activities which grew in the third quarter by 70.3% year over year, and 75.8% in the first nine months of the year as compared with the same period last year.

"The accelerated sales and profit growth in the international markets is a testimony to the successful integration of the new businesses we acquired within our international operation during 2005. The good results are particularly evident in the international coffee business of the Group as well as in the fresh salads operation in the US."