Finsbury Food Group's total company sales revenues grew to £314.3m in the year to 1 July - a like-for-like increase of 0.3% on the prior year - but there was a fall in its UK bakery division. The group said it was confident of delivering profits in line with market expectations. On a constant currency basis, revenues decreased 1.1% like for like on the prior year. A year-end update said: "Against a backdrop of UK retail food market deflation in the period, the UK Bakery division declined by 1.4% on a like for like basis. "The decline reduced from 2.9% during H1 2017 to an increase of 0.1% in H2 2017, with the second half benefiting from a growth in sales revenues. "Additionally, trading in the UK Bakery division was stronger in the second half of the year against the full financial year ended 1 July 2016 as the Group entered a period of price inflation." The Overseas division, the group's 50% owned European business, grew by 17.3% (made up of 2.2% organic growth and 15.1% exchange rate benefit). It said this positive performance and exchange rate impact mitigated the effect of the euro on the UK Bakery business, validating the strategic geographic diversification that the group had implemented. It added: "Ongoing product innovation and improvements in efficiency and productivity, together with the benefits of the Group's capital investment programme, has played an important role in addressing the previously noted industry-wide challenges. "As detailed in the Group's interim results, the scale of these challenges has necessitated price recovery and as such the Group has had productive discussions with its customers during the period. "The Group continues to monitor and review the need for further action in light of unusual cost spikes, as is currently well documented to be the case with butter. "The Board has built a strong multi-channel business and a large diversified speciality bakery group and believes that despite the current pressures on the industry, it is well equipped to maintain its market leading position and continue to deliver growth and improved shareholder value over the period ahead. Chief executive John Duffy said: "The hard work undertaken in prior periods has ensured that we have maintained our course, with the benefits of having a diversified business across channels and geography coming to the fore. "Considering the pressures the industry faces, we are very pleased to have grown revenue and are confident that the Group is well positioned to maintain its strong market position and continue to deliver shareholder returns."
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