Spanish food giant Ebro Puleva today (23 July) posted a rise in underlying first-half profits after growth from its pasta business in North America.

The company, the largest listed food producer in Spain, posted a 12.5% rise in profit to EUR153m (US$211m). Revenue rose 12% to EUR1.3bn.

“The outstanding performance of the international rice and pasta divisions, especially in North America, was the mainstay for the firm growth of the group,” Ebro said.

Ebro’s net profit was down 28% on the year as the company lapped the first six months in 2006 when it booked gains from a series of disposals.

Some 55% of Ebro’s business is made outside Spain. Earlier this month, for instance, the company bought German pasta producer Birkel Teigwaren for EUR30m.

It was not all rosy for Ebro, however; the company said its sugar sales fell 8.4% due to a fall in sales outside the EU.