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BOGOTA, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Grupo Nutresa SA, Colombia's largest food conglomerate, said net profit in the first half of 2015 fell 8.7 percent compared with the same period a year earlier because of tax increases and debt payments after its purchase of fast food chain El Corral.
The company, which has 70 food product brands and operates in 12 countries, said in a statement that profit for the January-June period was 229.6 billion pesos ($74 million).
Operating income was up 5.6 percent to 371 billion pesos, Nutresa, which is controlled by Grupo Empresarial Antioqueno, said.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were 458.3 billion pesos, 4.7 percent higher than during the same period in 2014.
Sales in Colombia, two-thirds of the company's business, were up 15.5 percent to 2.3 trillion pesos, including sales at El Corral from March.
International sales reached 1.3 trillion pesos, a 19.3 percent increase over the same period last year. ($1 = 3,101.10 Colombian pesos) (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Alan Crosby)