LONDON -- Dairy Crest Group (ISE: DCG.L) -- the company behind brands such as Clover, Country Life, FRijj, and Cathedral City -- edged up 0.3% this morning, on release of a trading update for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2012, just over a month ahead of announcing its interim results due on Nov. 8.
Profits are anticipated to be lower than in the same period last year, owing to challenging trading conditions, but expectations for the full-year profit remain unchanged.
Sales of the highly profitable French spreads brand, St Hubert, generated 430 million euros, part of which has been used to repay drawdowns from Dairy Crest's revolving credit facility.
The update included the announcement of a consultation with employees regarding plans to consolidate U.K. spreads production at Kirkby, Merseyside, which would result in the potential closure of the Crudgington, Shropshire, facility in 2014. Also announced were higher farmgate prices for milk, reflecting anticipated improving returns from both commodity markets and selling prices.
Mark Allen, chief executive, commented:
We are pleased with our first half performance despite the significant pressures on our business. Although we expect these to continue into the second half our first half performance together with our plans for the second half means that our profit expectations for the full year remain unchanged. At the same time we have continued to move the business forward and the proceeds from the sale of St Hubert leave us much stronger financially.
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