SalesofitsfourkeybrandsCathedralCity,CountryLife,CloverandFrijjrose11%inthehalf-yearperiod。

Howeveritsdairiesbusinesssufferedlowerprofitsamidadifficulttradingenvironment。

Salesweredown11%inlinewithstrategytoreduceexposuretothissector。

MilkproducerssuchasDairyCrestarestrugglingtogivefarmersbetterpriceswhilesupermarketsseeklowerpricesinacompetitivemarket。

DairyCrestsaiditisontrackwithaplantorestore3%returnonsalesinthemediumterm。

ChiefExecutiveMarkAllencommented:DairyCresthashadabusyfirstsixmonthsaswecontinuedtonavigateachallengingtradingenvironment。

Thedecisiveactionswehavetakenduringtheperiodleaveuswellplacedaswemoveforward。

FollowingthesaleofStHubert,thegroupsaidithasamorefocusedbusinessandamuchstrongerbalancesheet。

WenowhavetheabilitytomakeUKacquisitions,itadded。

Despitethechallengingenvironment,DairyCrestsaiditcontinuestogrowitskeybrandswhilereducingitscostbase。

Improvementstothedairiesbusinessareexpectedtoimprovefutureprofitability。

Weremainconfidentthatfullyearperformancewillbeinlinewithourexpectations。

Halfyearnetdebtwassignificantlyreducedto£75。

8mfrom£365。

3mpreviously。

Theinterimdividendhasbeenheldat5。

7p。

CJ

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