Petra Foods has announced a solid set of results for the first half of 2006, with the group’s cocoa ingredients unit posting sales volume growth of 19.6% and Branded Consumer division posting revenue growth of 39%.

As a result, the company’s net profit for for the interim period surged 39.1% to US$14.9m compared to $10.7m in the first six months of 2005.

The firm’s slimmer revenue increase of 8.8% was attributed to lower cocoa bean prices – a major component of sales for the cocoa ingredients division.

Petra Foods CEO John Chuang said: “With the growth momentum firmly in our favour, we believe these latest results indicate the group’s ability and commitment in executing its growth strategy to deliver value to our shareholders.

“Both businesses benefited from strong demand for our products. This set of results underscores the quality of the two earnings steams.”

Petra’s directors have recommended an interim one-tier tax-exempt dividend of 1.01 US cents per share, which represents a year-on-year increase of 21.7%.

The group expects the demand for cocoa ingredients and chocolate confectionery products to continue to drive overall growth.

Petra added that the branded consumer division would continue to target sales growth by further penetrating its core market in Indonesia and in growing its presence in the Asean region.