Milk Link is well positioned for future opportunities, CEO Neil Kennedy claimed, as the dairy co-­operative posted a 42% ­increase in profits.

Pre-tax profits at the ­co-operative rose 42.5%, to £10.6m in the year to 2 April 2011, off the back of a 6.5% increase in turnover, to £586m.

Kennedy said that Milk Link's key consumer brands had performed well, with sales of Tickler extra mature Cheddar up 32% by volume. He said that Milk Link was keen to "stretch" and develop the Tickler brand further, but would not be drawn on ­details. I Can't Believe It's Not Cheddar, launched in January, had performed "to plan," Kennedy added.

"Our growing financial strength and strategic flexibility leaves us well positioned to meet the challenges ahead and take advantage of opportunities that may arise as the dairy market ­consolidates and changes," said Kennedy.