Overseas sales – boosted by acquisitions – and “strict” control of costs has buoyed annual profits at Emmi, the Swiss dairy company.

The Caffe Latte maker said today (25 March) that its net profit rose 14.3% to CHF86.1m (US$94.3m) during 2010. EBIT grew by 24.5% to CHF135.8m.

Emmi’s net sales increased 2.5% to CHF2.68bn, with sales in Switzerland and overseas climbing, although growth was faster outside the company’s domestic market.

The company’s sales in Switzerland inched up 0.4% to CHF1.95bn, thanks to the “strong performance” of brands like Caffe Latte, Kaltbach and Luzerner. The acquisitions of cheese maker Fromalp in 2010 and yoghurt firm Nutrifrais in 2009.

Emmi’s sales overseas were up 8.4% to CHF731.8m. Fromalp played its part, while Emmi pointed to an “encouraging” performance of Emmi Roth USA, growing cheese exports and the Caffe Latte brand.

In local currencies and adjusting for acquisitions, Emmi’s international sales rose 9.4%. Emmi’s overseas business now accounts for over 27% of sales.

CEO Urs Riedener said: “We have proven that we have a robust position in our domestic and key international markets. The growth in profit is an important basis to enable investment in an Emmi that is successful over the long term.”

In 2011, Emmi is targeting a 3-5% rise in net sales. It said it expects profitability to be “at a similar level” to 2010 and cited an EBIT forecast of CHF120-140m.

Shares in Emmi were down 0.5% at CHF209 at 11:35 CET today.

Click here for the full release from Emmi.