September 18, 2017 / 6:21 AM / in a month

UK's Dairy Crest expects higher half-year profit

(Reuters) - Dairy Crest Group Plc (DCG.L), Britain’s largest dairy food company, said on Monday it expected higher half-year profit due to increased sales of cheese, butter and spreads.

Sales volumes for the six months to Sept. 30 at its Cathedral City, Clover, Country Life and Frylight brands will be ahead of last year, the company said.

The biggest increase is at cheese brand Cathedral City, with volume growth expected to be a double-digit percentage. Volumes were down 5 percent at the brand in the same period last year.

“We expect profit for the half year to be ahead of the same period last year,” Dairy Crest said, adding its full-year expectations were unchanged.

It reported an adjusted profit before tax of 19.1 million pounds ($26 million) for the half year in 2016.

The company said it had cut back on marketing of butter brand Country Life to help offset the impact of some higher input prices.

“Whilst this has impacted sales volumes, it has partly mitigated the adverse impact on margins,” it said.

The average farm-gate milk price in Britain rose 34 percent year-on-year in July to 27.78 pence per litre, according to data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.(bit.ly/2xeUpOo)

Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter

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