A fall in profit for Wimm-Bill-Dann in the third quarter has been offset by rises in the Russian dairy and drinks group's first half.

Net income for the three months ended 30 September fell 22% to US$31m, compared to the same period last year, Wimm-Bill-Dann said today (18 December).

Sales growth also slowed in the third quarter, to a rise of 15%, reaching $702m.

The figures reflect a weaker Russian economy, unfavourable curreny exchange rates and also rising costs on the dairy, drinks and baby food group. Net Profit for the first nine months of 2008 still grew by 3.7%, however. Nine-month revenue rose by 25% to $2.2bn.

Beverage sales rose by 20% to $372.5m for the nine months and by 15% in the third quarter. Selling prices rose by 15% for the nine-month period, although gross margin decreased due to the rising cost of juice concentrate.

CEO Tony Maher said: "We continue to face significant headwinds created by a decline in consumer confidence in Russia and CIS, slower GDP growth, and unprecedented global financial turmoil.

"Nevertheless, our balance sheet is strong, our liquidity is excellent, and we are comfortable with our debt position, including a bond of approximately $185 million that we will pay down in March of 2009 if required."