The ingredients and nutritionals division reported an increase in sales of 30 per cent compared to 2006, of €1.4bn, and pre-exceptional operating profit up a massive 93 per cent to €85m. The margin grew from 4.1 per cent to 6.1 per cent. This result comes against a backdrop of a 19 per cent increase in revenue for the group as a whole, to €2.2bn, operating profit up 35 per cent to €115.8m, and an operating margin of 5.2 per cent (from 4.6 per cent). The Irish group attributed the revenue increase for ingredients to higher global dairy prices last year, while the operating profit and margin growth is thanks to good performance in the US, increased contribution from the higher margin nutritionals business, and margin recovery for Food Ingredients Ireland. The ingredients and nutritionals business is Glanbia's largest division. It produces cheese, butter, casein and protein ingredients at facilities in Ireland and the US, and also includes the group's nutritional businesses in the UK, Germany, USA, Canada and China. Group managing director John Moloney said: "Glanbia continues to successfully develop a strategic international presence in cheese and nutritional ingredients. This, together with strong Irish operations, is positive for sustained high growth into the future." Food Ingredients Ireland Glanbia's ingredients business in Ireland, which supplies to customers worldwide, had previously seen a drop in its margins. However the high milk prices commanded in 2007 gave it the opportunity to rebound to historical levels. This business' core ongoing strategy is "to maximise the returns from its raw material inputs through a focus on dairy ingredient solutions." Indeed it received a helping hand to developed higher value-added dairy products in 2007, in the form of a grant secured from the Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Food Ingredients USA Developments in the US cheese market were a significant factor in this division's growth story. Glanbia claims to be the number one supplier of 'American-style cheese' in the market, and it moved into a new area last year when it started producing organic cheese. Glanbia also expanded its capacity for American style cheddar cheese, in order to meet growing demand. Strong global whey markets also contributed to this business' results. Whey was also cited as a factor, thanks to global demand for dairy proteins. Part of this is understood to come from more affluent consumers in developing countries switching to western style diets. In addition, Australia and Argentina, two important dairy producing countries, have recently been hit by inclement weather, which was affected supply. Nutritionals The strong global market for whey also proved to be a driver for growth in this high-margin business. The company said that sectors of this market where it has seen particular potential are weight management, infant formula and sports nutrition. Beyond just focusing on the health potential from dairy, Glanbia is also investing in R&D in the non-dairy sector. It has also been building its global capacity for customised premises, with a manufacturing facility in China completed in 2007 and full integration of US-based Seltzer, which was acquired in 2006. Other divisions Glanbia's other divisions are Consumer Foods and Agribusiness & Property. Both of these reported drops in operating profit in 2007, by 27 per cent and 24 per cent respectively (to €17.8m and €12.8m). This month the group announced the sale of its pigmeat business (consumer foods), in a €35m management buyout. This led to an exceptional loss of €20.5 million in the 2007 results. Last August the pigmeat factory in County Offaly was severely damaged by fire.