July 2, 2014 / 8:14 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Chr. Hansen sees rising demand for healthier dairy products

* Denmark’s Chr. Hansen keeps full-year outlook after Q3

* Company takes advantage of increasing focus on healthy food (Adds detail, comments)

By Ole Mikkelsen

COPENHAGEN, July 2 (Reuters) - Danish food ingredients maker Chr. Hansen said increasing demand for low-fat yoghurt and reduced-salt cheese would lift its sales this year after the company reported a 10 percent rise in revenue in the third quarter on Wednesday.

Chr. Hansen said operating profit rose 4.2 percent in March-May to 55.0 million euros ($75.02 million), in line with a forecast of 55.5 million euros in a Reuters poll.

Rising levels of obesity as more people in the developing world adopt Western, urban lifestyles has fuelled concern about high levels of fat, sugar and salt in food.

Chr. Hansen makes bacteria for yoghurt and cheese, food colourings and enzymes and its biggest customers include food producers Danone and Nestle.

“We see very high demand for a yogurt culture which helps to reduce fat in yogurt and we see very keen interest in cheese cultures that reduce salt content in cheese,” chief financial officer Kurt Pedersen told Reuters.

The Cultures and Enzymes Divisions counts for roughly two-third of revenue.

The company faces challenging market conditions in its Natural Colours Division where sales fell 8 percent in the quarter after it lost an unnamed South American customer, who switched to cheaper synthetic colours instead of using carmine, a food colouring made from cactus-dwelling lice in Peru.

For the full-year, the company still expects organic growth of 7-9 percent and an operating margin of more than 26 percent.

Chr. Hansen shares were up 3 percent at 0804 GMT compared with a 0.4 percent rise in the Danish benchmark index

$1 = 0.7331 Euros Additional reporting by Annabella Pultz Nielsen, editing by Louise Heavens

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