Acquisitions integrating smoothly, says Finsbury Foods

By Karen Willmer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Finsbury foods, Bread

UK-based Finsbury Food Group yesterday reported continues
sales growth across its bakery products, and that its recent
acquisitions have integrated smoothly.

Sales at the company's Memory Lane Cakes unit grew by 10 per cent year-on-year for the 32 weeks to June 2007. The Nicholas and Harris unit sales rose by 17 per cent over the same comparative periods, and the turnover of the Scottish cake businesses of California Cakes and Campbells Cakes were up a combined 28 per cent. The units all supply major retailers such as Sainsbury and Tesco with own-label ranges. The trading update follows Finsbury's April financial report stating that turnover increased by 32 per cent to £43.3m (€63.9m) in the six months leading up to 31 December 2006. Over that same period operating profit rose 48 per cent to £1.75m (€2.6m) while sales in both the bread and cakes divisions grew. In February Finsbury Foods acquired the Lightbody Group in a £37.5m (€56.6m) deal, in a bid to expand the company's reach into the celebratory cake market. Lightbody has 40 per cent market share in the UK. Yesterday, the company reported that the integration has been going well. Finsbury Foods' chief executive Dave Brooks said management still has a "lot of work" to do in completing the integration of Lightbody. He predicts that the company is still on course to generate the targeted £2m in savings it expects from integrating Lightbody's operations by June 2009. "Bringing the Finsbury Group together with Lightbody in February was a transformational move,"​ he said. "The first four months have shown a real willingness from the businesses to work together and an appetite from our customers for combining the wider offering that the group can provide into complete category solutions."​ He also reported that progress had been achieved in rebuilding United Central Bakeries (UCB) following a fire at the plant in October 2006. The plant will return to full production by early July, he said. The growing premium sectors of the bakery market means the Nicholas and Harris business is well placed to continue to grow, both organically and via acquisition, he reported. According to Mintel, the ambient cake market recorded a 3 per cent growth per year and was worth £1.47bn (€2.2bn) last year with particular growth in the premium goods sector. UK bread and cake markets are together worth over £4.5bn (€6.7m).

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