Beverage can company Rexam has posted a slide in first-half profits.

The company said today (31 July) that profits before tax for the six months to the end of June came in at GBP98m (US$199m), down from GBP121m a year earlier. Sales in the period were up, however, by 5% to GBP1.66bn from GBP1.58bn.

Rexam blamed the rising cost of aluminium, a strike at nine of its US can plants, and a weak US dollar for the dip in profits.

"The first half was every bit as challenging as we had expected, with the lower results masking significant progress in a number of areas," said Rolf Börjesson, Rexam's chairman. "We delivered good sales growth; implemented substantial price rises on the open European beverage can sales contracts; invested further in organic growth and continued to make good efficiency savings.

"Looking ahead, we are confident that we are well positioned for future growth. We will maintain our focus on results delivery, and especially margin improvement, and we continue to anticipate that the year as a whole will be in line with our expectations."