Food casings company Devro reported a 16.4% rise in pre-tax profit on the back of strong growth in its sausage skin sales.

For the year to December 31 pre-tax profit rose to £18m from £15.5m. Sales increased to £146.1m from £138m.

However, the Devro warned that regulatory issues regarding the movement of beef-related products across international borders would hit first half profits. This has caused short-term sourcing of collagen raw materials and led to a temporary restriction on the group's export sales during the early part of 2004.

Chairman Pat Barrett said “We continue to see important and profitable growth opportunities for Devro.
“For the most part this growth will be organic, but also over the medium and longer term it will come from the development, manufacture and marketing of an extended product range.”