Higher branded sales and strong demand for cocoa ingredients has boosted first-half profits at Singapore-based confectioner and cocoa processor Petra Foods.

The company said today (12 August) that its net profit for the six months to the end of June climbed 72.4% to US$17.9m. First-half revenue was up 24.8% at $712m.

Petra Foods’ first-half earnings were boosted by “strong” profit growth in the second quarter, the company said. Net profit for the quarter grew 58.4% to $9.6m. Second-quarter revenue was up 29.2% at $373.3m.

Revenue growth from the group’s branded products during the second quarter took half-year sales from that part of Petra’s business to $177.2m – up 30.6% on the first half of 2009.

Petra saw revenue from its cocoa ingredients business accelerate during the second quarter, pushing its first-half sales up 23% to $534.8m.

CEO John Chuang said both sides of Petra’s business was expected to see growth in the second half of 2010.

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“We believe that strong industry fundamentals such as industry consolidation and increased outsourcing trend will drive our cocoa ingredients division into higher levels of growth. With a substantial portion of 2010’s capacity already committed by our customers, we expect this strong momentum to continue into the second half of the year,” Chuang said.

“Our branded consumer division will be augmented by the positive sales momentum, as well as our pipeline of new product launches planned in the second half of 2010. Barring unforeseen circumstances, we expect both units to enjoy continued volume and sales growth, which will in turn generate strong full-year 2010 earnings for the group for full year 2010.”