Ice cream manufacturer Richmond Foods' half-year pre-tax profit to April 2 rose 62.6% to £2.9m on sales down 4% at £48.7m.

The company, which last week said that it had agreed a £182.2m offer for the company from US buyout company Oaktree Capital Management, subject to shareholder approval, added that it had also seen a slip in sales in the take-home sector.

Richmond Foods said that because of an “unusually weak market”, take-home sales fell 5.1% compared with the first six months of last year, although its share of the branded take-home market was marginally up at 11.7%.

It added that the impulse market had also fallen by 7.5% year-on-year, but because of its seasonality, it was still too early in the trading year to provide any meaningful insight into the sector.

The company added: “The market over the last six months has been unusually weak. This has intensified competitive pressures, especially in the own-label tub sector of the market.”

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