Real Good Food (RGF) has reported a profit before tax of £9.3m for its first half – compared with a loss of £4.7m for the same period last year.

The bakery manufacturer and ingredients company sold its troublesome sugar refining business, Napier Brown, in the period for £44.4m, which delivered an exceptional profit of £9.4m.

The company said it had also seen a ‘strong’ increase in group ebitda of £2m, compared with a loss in the same period in 2014 of £3m.

Pieter Totté, executive chairman, said: “I am pleased to report that the group made positive operational and financial progress during the reported period resulting in total group ebitda being significantly improved when compared to the same period last year.

“Importantly we are now seeing the benefits of the operational strategy and investment programme we have been implementing over the last couple of years across our individual business units, which are now managed on a stand-alone basis.

“This coincides with a significant reduction in group net debt and improved working capital, resulting in a business which is much transformed and well-positioned for further future growth.”

He added: “We will now look to use the group’s strong balance sheet to continue to invest in our three pillar markets of cake decoration, food ingredients and premium bakery, to drive ebitda and operating profit, as well as exploring further bolt-on acquisition opportunities.

“We are now well into the important third quarter, which includes the Christmas trading period and I am pleased to report positive sales trends so far at both our cake decorating businesses and at Haydens. With this context, the board is confident that the outcome for the full year will be in line with current market expectations and we look forward with confidence.”

For a special report on RGF and its future plans see here.