It said its Lurpak brand grew 10%, driven by Lurpak Spreadable and Lurpak Lighter Spreadable. Anchor Spreadable was up 13% and Cravendale milk was up 23%.
Predicted synergies from the merger would be £20m per annum, with the first phase of dairy rationalisation due to be completed in July. The former Express Dairies HQ in Leicester had already been closed, with a number of central functions now integrated in Leeds.
Chairman Sir David Naish said the enlarged company was outperforming the market on home delivery under the Express brand. It was holding the year-on-year decline in milk volume at lower than 10%.
Naish said: “All our experience to date indicates that the merger will deliver all its anticipated benefits.”
Arla reported figures for the six months to March 31 including just over five months of trading after the Express/Arla merger. Sales for the period more than doubled to £697.9m, up from £323.5m in the six months to September 30, 2003. Pre-tax profit was £5m, down from £6.1m in the previous six months, due to the costs of integration.