UK dairy products group Dairy Crest has reported a 12% rise in first-half profits and said it expects continued progress in the second half.

The company, whose brands include Clover and Utterly Butterly spreads and Cathedral City cheddar cheese, posted pre-tax profits of £35.4m (US$59.2m) for the six months to 30 September, in line with analysts’ estimates of £34.5-35.9m, reported Reuters.

Dairy Crest said the strong performance was driven by growth of its key brands and it expects continued good progress for the full year. The company’s key branded business accounts for 55% of group profits.

“We continue to re-shape the business and improve the quality of our earnings as we move away from more volatile commodity businesses,” chief executive Drummond Hall was quoted by Reuters as saying.