Finsbury invests in bakery divisions as sales drops

Cake and bread manufacturer Finsbury Food Group has revealed group sales revenues dropped to £175.7m from £176.6m the previous year, following the sale of its free-from business in February last year.

Second half growth in the UK bakery business reversed the first half decline and sales for the year were broadly flat at £153.7m in the report to the year ending 28 June 2014. Sales in Lightbody Europe, the group’s 50%-owned European business have declined by 1.2% for the full year to £22m. However, the business is in good shape with a shift to higher margins.

Profit levels are ahead of last year as a result of introducing actions to increase sales via market activity as well as reduce costs via the benefits from capital investment and overhead reduction programme implemented in the second half. These actions also helped against ongoing cost inflation.
In line with its stated strategy, Finsbury has doubled capital investment to more than £6m in the year.

Within the UK bakery division, cake capital investment projects successfully completed in the year included the new single serve cake slice ‘snap pack’ line as well as the largest cake bites robotic picking installation in the world. The Nicolas and Harris speciality bread facility expansion, delivering 60% additional space, has also been successfully commissioned and is now fully operational.

John Duffy, chief executive, said: “Our continued capital investment programme is heralding positive signs and we are encouraged by the contribution that this has made. Although cost inflation keeps margins under pressure, the strategies we have in place have mitigated against this and with more favourable profit dynamics; we are well placed to take advantage of the market as it improves.”

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