Irish food company Greencore's half-year operating profit to 31 March rose 2.2% to E42m on sales up 8.1% at E442m.

The group also reported that it had incurred net exceptionals of E45.7m, because of its exit from sugar processing earlier this year.

David Dilger, chief executive of Greencore, said: “These results represent a solid underlying performance against a background of a competitive convenience foods environment and EU sugar reform that had led us to exit sugar processing in Ireland.”

He added: “The future for Greencore now lies in convenience foods. I am pleased by the continuing progress of and future prospects for that division.”