Scholl owner SSL International has posted a 59.7% hike in pre-tax profit for the first six months of its fiscal year.

Pre-tax profit climbed to GBP51.9m (US$85.8m), compared to GBP32.5m last year.

The shoe unit itself, Scholl footwear, posted sales of GBP48.7m for the period ended 30 September - up 4.7% on an underlying basis.

Garry Watts, SSL International chief executive, said: "Despite tough trading conditions in some of our core markets, our turnover has moved ahead strongly.

"Both core brands, Durex and Scholl have performed well.

"Both gross and net margins advanced, benefiting from our increased scale and from ongoing investment in our processes, supply chain and brand development.

"We remain well on track to hit our target of 50% EPS growth in the three years to March 2012."