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Dairy Crest expects rise in first-half profit, revenue

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(Reuters) – Dairy Crest Group <DCG.L> expects growth in both profit and revenue in the first half, helped by increased sales of cheese, butter and spreads from its Cathedral City and Clover brands, Britain’s largest dairy food company said on Monday.

Dairy Crest said it would release new Cathedral City branded products over the next few months, including snack bars and a lactose-free range.

The butter, cheese and cooking spray maker expects good growth in Cathedral City revenue for the half year ending in September, while Clover is expected to deliver both volume and revenue growth.

Dairy Crest’s Cathedral City cheese brand has been performing well, driving revenue growth and prompting the FTSE 250 company to expand its cheese production facility. The company has also raised the prices of its cheese products after costs climbed.

However, Frylight, a cooking spray business it bought in 2011, is expected to show a reduction in volume and revenue for the first half of the year, Dairy Crest said, citing unusually hot weather in Britain which impacted oil usage.

The Country Life brand’s volumes have also been impacted by a rise in butter prices, Dairy Crest said.

The company reaffirmed its full-year forecast and said its net debt at the end of September would be significantly lower than last year.

Peel Hunt analysts expect first-half profit to improve by over 5 percent. The milk processor had reported an adjusted profit before tax of 20.6 million pounds and revenue of 220.1 million pounds for the first half of 2017.

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi, Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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