SAUSAGE-SKIN maker Devro has reported underlying first-half pre-tax profits up from £14.3 million to £14.9m.

It reported strong volume growth in China - 19 per cent - and North America, where it was 10%. This was offset by expected weaker performances in Japan, Russia and Latin America, the latter being down 30%.

The Lanarkshire firm said the results are in line with the board’s expectations.

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Rutger Helbing, chief executive of Devro, which has plants at Moodiesburn and Bellshill, said: “We continued to make good progress on our strategic priorities in the first half.

“For the full year, we continue to expect volume and revenue growth to be weighted towards the second half, supported by a number of commercial initiatives to accelerate growth and the continued rollout of our Fine Ultra product platform.”

It said volumes of edible collagen casings decreased by 1% impacted by a slow start to the year, however gaining momentum with growth – up 1% for the remainder of the first half, from February to June.

Mr Helbing said: “We also now expect our total cost savings programme to exceed our previously stated target. At current FX rates operating profit will benefit from foreign exchange gains in the second half.”

Darren Shirley, analyst at Shore Capital, said the report sits within guidance, the outlook is unchanged, and its view remains positive.

He said the results were “a little ahead of our relatively subdued expectations, but importantly in line with management’s own”.