The Provimi Group recently released a trading update on its consolidated results for the first six months of the year, with sales up 7% over the previous year.

The company's petfood segment experienced strong performance in its core markets in the first half of the year, with continued expansion into new markets, a successful diversification of product offerings into higher margin segments and the strengthening of relationships with retailers across Europe.

The petfood segment continued to grow volume and sales in all markets. Sales were up 7% over the previous year. Sales growth was driven by strong trading performance in core and expansion markets, including Poland (20% year on year) and Romania (26% year on year). The company also continued to increase its presence in Germany by strengthening its relationship with discounters.

Despite a likely increase in raw material prices, further growth is also expected for petfood in the second half of the year, supported by recent contracts and commercial relationships with retailers across Europe. The segment is well positioned to capitalize on growing sectors driven by positive, long-term macro trends. The pet population is forecast to continue to increase as the number of single-person households rise and European populations continue to age. In addition, spend per pet is also increasing, driven by growing sales of accessories, snacks, treats and premium products.

Overall operational performance improved in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period last year. Revenues have increased by 6.2% to €892.9 million (US$1.15 billion), following the raw material prices trend. The impact of acquisitions and divestments reduced revenue by €2.4 million (US$3.1 million). Favorable exchange rates had a positive effect on revenue of €46.7 million (US$60.15 million). Recurring operating profit increased by 31.9% to €68.2 million (US$87.84 million), compared to €51.7 million (US$66.6 million) over the same period in 2009.