March 20, 2018 / 8:28 PM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-New Zealand's Synlait Milk posts record first-half profit

(Adds revenue, outlook for H2, background)

March 21 (Reuters) - New Zealand’s Synlait Milk on Wednesday reported record first-half net profit, helped by booming Chinese demand for infant formula from branding partner a2 Milk Company.

Synlait’s net profit after tax for the six months to Jan. 31 was NZ$40.7 million ($29.22 million), against NZ$10.6 million a year earlier, while revenue rose 52 percent to NZ$439.3 million.

The dairy company said earnings in the second half would not be as strong as the first six months because it faces increasing commitments to business research and development but it forecast strong overall earnings growth for the full year.

Synlait added that it expects to spend NZ$125 million on an advanced liquid dairy packaging facility at Synlait Dunsandel and NZ$260 million to establish its new nutritional powder manufacturing plant at Synlait Pokeno.

Last month Synlait’s partner a2 Milk Co booked record half-year profit on surging demand for its infant formula in China, beating market estimates.

Synlait has an agreement to provide a2 Milk with products for its largest markets in China, Australia and New Zealand. ($1 = 1.3646 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru Editing by Alison Williams and David Goodman)

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