For its first full year of trading as Arla Foods UK, the company has reported sales of £1.4bn for the year to 30 September compared to £714m in 2003, and an increase in underlying pre-tax profit from £28m in 2003 to £42m in 2004.

Sir David Naish, chairman of the company, said: “The first full year of trading as Arla Foods UK has been one of very good progress towards all our key objectives: building our brands, forging ever stronger relationships with milk producers, developing our leadership in technology and providing growth potential for our customers.

“I am pleased to announce our results are in line with our expectations, and that the expected synergy benefits of the merger are on track for delivery ahead of schedule.”

Naish also stated that the Arla Foods UK brands continued to perform strongly and: “we anticipate significant growth in Cravendale milk when additional processing capacity comes on stream next summer.”

The company also noted it had achieved strong growth with its Lurpak brand and it had maintained is share of the supermarket fresh milk sector.