Lees Foods has seen its year-on-year pre-tax profit increase more than twofold from £379k in 2008 to £843k in 2009.

The Coatbridge-based firm also announced a 13% sales rise to £18.2m in its final results for the year ended 31 December 2009. Gross profit was up 15% to £5.8m.

“Both companies in the Group, Lees of Scotland and Waverley Bakery, enjoyed record years in terms of sales and profits,” commented non-executive chairman Chris Greig.

Chief executive Clive Miquel said these trading levels had been sustained into 2010, “with our sales during the first quarter of 2010 slightly ahead of the same period in 2009”.

He said the firm had grown sales of its existing range of teacakes, snowballs, confectionery, ice cream cones and meringues, as well as introducing new products, and entering new markets with existing retail customers in the UK.

The firm has also started exporting to customers in Kuwait, France, the USA and Australia.

“During the year we invested further in our production facilities, including the purchase of a new meringue depositor, which gives us increased capacity and greater flexibility in our meringue production,” said Miquel.

“We have a planned programme of capital investment over the next three years, which includes the installation of new ovens during the first half of 2010. This will give us additional capacity to support our future growth ambitions.

“We are excited about the future and while we are focusing on organic growth, we will look at complementary acquisition opportunities if and when these arise,” he added.

* In March 2009, its subsidiary Patisserie UK was placed into administration. In June, Lees announced it would take legal action against the people from whom it bought Patisserie UK, after anticipated sales did not materialise as forecast. A settlement was reached, which saw Lees receive approximately £225,000.