Cake and bread company Finsbury Food Group has hailed a “transformative” year of trading after reporting a 19% leap in adjusted profits before tax and a 78% fall in debt.

In it preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 29 June 2013, announced this morning, the company 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.

John Duffy, CEO of Finsbury Food Group, said: “Light at the end of the tunnel is always welcome. While the precise length of the tunnel remains a matter of debate, it is pleasing to reflect on a year in which the enduring efforts of senior management and staff at all levels of Finsbury Foods generated demonstrable progress.”

In November 2012, the company raised £3.8m through an equity placing to fund capital investment projects in its core cake business. It also sold its Free From business to Genius Foods for £21m earlier this year

The net effect of those transactions was “transformative”, said no exec chairman Martin Lightbody, helping the company to dramatically reduce debt and associated charges, and invest in the business.

“Consumer markets remain challenging” he said. “Weary consumers have grown increasingly deal focused while commodity prices continue to rise. Finsbury Foods has responded to the value conscious environment with a series of cost and product initiatives, reacting nimbly to the changing needs of the marketplace. The sale of Free From will enable the company to rebase, driving forward organic growth. £6m has been set aside for new capital investment projects in our core cake business this year, the scale of investment demonstrating the depth of our ambition.”