Australia's Warrnambool doubles H1 profit

SYDNEY Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:54pm EST

SYDNEY Feb 28 (Reuters) - Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co reported a doubling in first-half profits on Friday, a step towards justifying the rich bidding war that left Canada's Saputo Inc owning almost 90 percent of the company.

Warrnambool said earnings before interest, tax and depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the six months to Dec. 31 was A$59.2 million ($53 million) amid strong international dairy demand and pricing, compared with A$29.3 million in the previous corresponding half.

The result was in line with the increase in profits the company flagged in December and said the outlook for the rest of the year remained positive.

Saputo beat out two Australian rivals, Bega Cheese Ltd and Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Ltd to claim majority ownership of Warrnambool in January after the fiercest bidding war in Australia in years.

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