Israeli food maker Strauss Q1 profit slips, coffee sales drop

JERUSALEM Tue May 27, 2014 3:40am EDT

JERUSALEM May 27 (Reuters) - Israeli food and drinks maker Strauss Group reported a slight drop in quarterly profit, weighed down by lower global coffee sales.

Strauss said on Tuesday it earned an adjusted 99 million shekels ($28.5 million) in the first quarter, compared with 103 million a year earlier.

Sales fell 2 percent to 1.97 billion shekels but excluding exchange rate effects, sales rose 4.8 percent.

Strauss, a maker of snacks, fresh foods and coffee, is a market leader in roast and ground coffee in central and eastern Europe and Brazil. It is the second-largest company in the Israeli food and beverage market.

Coffee sales fell 12.4 percent, led by a 15.4 percent decline in international coffee sales.

Sales at its international dips and spreads joint venture Sabra, which is half-owned by PepsiCo, gained 14.5 percent. Sales in Israel rose 4.4 percent.

"Faced with a challenging quarter in our home market and the international arena, the group posts sound results that attest to significant capabilities in coping with a changing geopolitical - Russia, Ukraine - and economic reality," said Gadi Lesin, Strauss's chief executive.

($1 = 3.4782 Israeli Shekels) (Reporting by Steven Scheer)

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