Finsbury Food Group is gearing up for organic growth in cakes and speciality bread after a “transformational” year during which it sold its gluten-free arm and invested in its core business.

Speaking in light of the group’s yearly results, published yesterday, CEO John Duffy explained that despite success with the company’s free-from venture, the decision to sell the business to Genius Foods for £21m earlier this year was the right one.

“When it came to the point of sale, we found it hard to argue,” he said. “And I think it was the right thing for both businesses.

“We’ve got lots to do with our speciality bread and cakes, so I think it is probably the right thing to do to invest in those areas, because there’s opportunity for organic growth.”

The group’s preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 29 June 2013 revealed profits before tax rose to £5.5m, up from £4.6m last year. Revenue fell to £176.6m from £178.9m in 2012, while debt levels were reduced from £33.9m last year to £7.4m.

The positive results enabled the manufacturer to reinstate a dividend for shareholders, proposed at 75p per share.

Commenting on the results, Duffy said: “It was quite a transformational year, arguably more so because of the structural work that we’ve done. The shareholders’ response has been very positive, we’re getting the balance sheet and the debt levels to a nice low level, which gives us more scope to do things, and it has gone down well.”

At this year’s Baking Industry Awards, Finsbury was awarded Bakery Supplier of the Year. Duffy said that the achievement reflected the early investment made by the group in skills and its customers.