Canadian cheese-maker Saputo posted a rise in half-year profits helped by a strong performance from its dairy products businesses.

Net earnings for the six months to 30 September totalled C$152m (US$131m), compared to C$131m for the corresponding period last year.

Revenue from the company's US dairy products division increased by around C$200m due to its acquisition of Alto Dairy Cooperative in April, increased selling prices and a higher average block market per pound of cheese.

Sales from Saputo's dairy products businesses in Canada, Europe and Argentina rose by around C$100m as the company increased prices to offset higher milk costs.

For the six-month period, group revenues totalled C$2.81bn, an increase of 11.9% on last year's figures.

EBITDA totalled C$280.3m, an increase of 11.4% year-on-year. An appreciation of the Canadian dollar eroded around C$3.3m of the company's EBITDA in comparison to the same period last fiscal year.

Net earnings for the second quarter reached C$69m compared to C$62.5m for the same quarter in 2007, while consolidated revenues amounted to C$1.45bn, an increase of 12.8%.

Last month Saputo announced plans to acquire Neilson Dairy, the dairy division of Weston Foods (Canada) for C$465m.

Saputo said the transaction will enable it to increase the company's presence in the Ontario fluid milk and cream market.