A “solid” market performance and “rigorous” cost control boosted Swiss dairy group Emmi’s 2008 profit by 42.3%, the company said today (8 April).

For the 12-month period, Emmi posted a net profit of CHF58.7m (US$51.2m), compared to CHF41.3m in 2007.

Sales reached CHF2.69bn for the 2008 financial year, an increase of 7.7%, of which 4.6% stemmed from price increases.

Overall, organic growth amounted to 6.6%. Brands such as Emmi Caffè Latte, Emmi Kaltbach and the Emmi Swiss line continued to perform well, the company said, as did concepts with added health benefits, such as Benecol and Aktifit.

In Switzerland, net sales rose by 8.1% to CHF2.07bn and in international markets Emmi increased sales by 6.5% to CHF625.3m, with the greatest contribution of growth from price increases.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were CHF102.1m, with the EBIT margin increasing from 2.5% to 3.8%.

With regard to foreign sales, Emmi said it expects slower organic growth in 2009 due to “decreasing consumer sentiment” and the anticipated negative currency effects.

The company said it hopes this will be balanced out by the acquisition of Roth Käse USA and anticipates international growth of about 15%.

As a result, Emmi said it expects to “maintain” sales in the 2009 financial year, securing a net profit margin over the 2% mark. It also wants to continue pursuing its strategy of investment in international expansion.

The company today also announced plans to buy a 60% stake in yoghurt and dessert maker Nutrifrais from Geneva-based LRG Group, gaining the licence for Yoplait and TamTam brands.