Finsbury Food walks on the right side of the line

31 March, 2006
Page 5 

Dave Brooks: premium market

Finsbury Food Group said it is on the “right side of the line” in a competitive market as it announced a rise in sales and profits this week.
Sales were up 12% to £32.8 million and pre-tax profit was up 70% to £1.2m over the six months to December 31, including three new Scottish businesses acquired in November 2005. Underlying sales were up 9% and profits up 36% to £0.9m.Finsbury’s business model and positioning in the premium end of the market allows it to capitalise on market trends, chief executive Dave Brooks told British Baker.He said he saw “fantastic” opportunities for growth in the business, which includes Memory Lane Cakes, bakery Nicholas & Harris and new acquisitions United Central Bakeries, California Cakes and Campbells Cakes. Organic, gluten free and low fat are growing areas of demand Finsbury is well placed to serve, he said.At Memory Lane commissioning of a small cake production line will complete by April. This will be able to make £10m worth of miniature versions of premium boxed cakes a year. A sponge production line is also being automated.Organic bakery Nicholas & Harris is seeing “huge growth” and is on track for a record Easter. It now has listings at the four main multiples and an exclusive contract to supply Waitrose hot cross buns. Plans to install an oven at the Campbells’ no-bake bakery, which makes cold lines such as shortbread have been shelved. Instead, product baked at the nearby low fat specialist California bakery will be finished in Campbells.Following the recent acquisitions, buying functions on core commodities including eggs, flour and power have been centralised across the five businesses to reap cost savings.Mr Brooks said after a spending spree last year and a “big couple of years in terms of capital investment”, Finsbury has no plans for acquisitions. It will focus on organic growth.



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