Carr’s Milling Industries has seen interim profits soar after taking over part of the ailing Pye Bibby feed empire last year.

In the six months to 4 March, revenue grew 41% to £110m and adjusted pre-tax profit rose 18.2% to £4.57m, but the contribution of the group’s agriculture division fell again.

Animal feed and specialist fertiliser remain its core activities and both sectors have had a difficult trading year, due to overcapacity in one and soaring costs in the second.

A £2.3m cash boost from the sale of Pye mills in Shropshire and Cumbria will not appear on the balance sheet until the second period of the year.

Meanwhile the flour business, which expanded last year with the acquisition of Meneba UK, saw operating profits grow to £1m.

Analysts at Investec Securities forecast year-end sales of £238m and upped Carr’s stock rating to “buy”. Stock values soared 5% on the day.

They said profits for the first six months had come in £200,000 more than expected.