Glanbia, the Ireland-based cheese and nutritional products maker today (27 August) posted a 38% jump in underlying pre-tax profits for the first half of 2008.

The company booked a 37.6% rise in pre-exceptional, pre-tax profit to EUR53.1m (US$78m). Revenue was up 6.3% to EUR1.1bn.

Managing director John Moloney said the company had seen "strong" organic growth from its food ingredients business in the US and its nutritional products division.

Moloney said margins from the groups' consumer foods business in Ireland had recovered but that its domestic ingredients business would fare worse over the full year than in 2007.

"The performance of Food Ingredients Ireland in the second half will be reduced relative to the second half of 2007, as global dairy market volatility has created a time lag in balancing input costs and market returns," Moloney said.

In Ireland, which accounts for 34% of Glanbia's revenue and 32% of its operating profit, according to the first-half figures, sales dipped from EUR418.4m last year to EUR417.7m. Underlying operating profit from the unit, which also includes Glanbia's agribusiness and property interests, was up 9% to EUR21.9m.

Internationally, underlying operating profit jumped 22% to EUR34.6m, on the back of an 11% rise in revenue to EUR688.5m. Glanbia's US food ingredients business enjoyed rising cheese and whey ingredients sales volumes, the company said.

Moloney said Glanbia was "confident" of a "good overall performance" for the full year. "We believe the group will deliver double digit earnings growth, in line with market expectations."