Dairy food group Arla has announced that its full year profits are in line with expectations after second half profitability gains made up for weaker first half results.

Pretax profit for the year came to GBP37.8m, down from GBP44.1m the previous year. Sales from continuing operations increased by 6% to GBP1.15bn, up from GBP1.09bn posted in fiscal 2005.

“This year we completed the final phase of our three year strategic plan following the merger of Express Dairies and Arla Foods in 2003. We have delivered significantly improved efficiencies through our programme of investment, rationalisation and asset optimisation; successfully divested our non-core foodservice and doorstep milk businesses; further strengthened our farmer partnership; and again driven strong growth in all our leading brands,” Arla chairman Sir David Naish commented.

Arla proposed final dividend 1.45 pence, up from 1.4 pence.

The UK dairy group also said that bid talks with its majority shareholder Arla Foods ambia are continuing.