Growing demand for natural colours, excipients and probiotic cultures lifted third quarter sales at Danish ingredients firm Chr Hansen.
The company saw sales for the ingredients part of the group - which include its activities in excipients destined for the pharmaceutical industry - rise by 3.5 per cent from DKK848m (€114m) in 2002/2003 for the third quarter to DKK878m (€118m) for the equivalent period this year.
But operating profit for the period in the ingredients sector slipped from DKK102m to DKK100m for the third quarter this year.
Combined sales rose by over 6 per cent for Europe, South America and Asia combined, climbing to DKK1.62bn from DKK1.52bn last year.
Last month, the company started production at a new plant at Stoughton in Wisconsin, US, but in its results statement reported that "start-up of the plant turned out to be more cost- and time-consuming than had been anticipated".
At the time, it said that the expansion was part of its strategy of growing exports of its pharma lines, which include directly compressible sugars for tabletting, calcium carbonate granules, tablet coatings and timed-release systems, including its recently re-launched Sugar Spheres NF.
The upgrade of the facility was designed to help Chr Hansen comply with expanding regulatory standards for its pharmaceutical products, both in the US and globally. The company said that the plant has now been validated by a number of customers, and should help it grow its pharmaceutical business in the future.
The company's Alk-Abello allergy vaccine business reported a 5 per cent increase in turnover to DKK809 million, helped by the launch of its sublingual product line (SLITone) in Central and Southern Europe. New products are due to be launched in the later half of the year in Scandinavia (grass pollen allergy) and China (house dust mite allergy), but the full-year results will see the division adversely affected - to the tune of DKK25 million - by enforced price cuts in Germany.
Profit for the first nine months for the group as a whole - ingredients and allergy vaccine sectors combined - came in at DKK150m, up from DKK 134m for 2002/2003.