Lotus Bakeries, with headquarters in Belgium, produces caramelized biscuits (speculoos), gingerbread, cake specialties, waffles and pepparkakor biscuits. It has production facilities in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Canada, and sales teams across Europe and North America.
The group recorded a 24.8 per cent rise in net profit to €5.2m for 2009, while operating profit was up 3.1 per cent at €34.3m and turnover rose 1.7 per cent to €261.1m.
Last year, the group decided to sell its shares in Harry’s Benelux to Italian company Barilla, saying the divestment would allow it to focus fully on its own Lotus brand products.
“Since 1 January 2009, turnover of Harry’s products, mainly prepacked bread products and pastries, is no longer included in the Lotus Bakeries group consolidation. In 2008 this turnover amounted to €6.5m,” said the group.
Lotus said the good growth figures were recorded in an extremely difficult macro-economic environment, and in a period when the biscuit category in its major markets such as Belgium, the Netherlands and France shrank.
And the company maintained that intensive communication and increasing product quality had kept up consumer confidence in its brands.
Lotus added that it expects further growth to come from its 2008 acquisition of Swedish biscuit maker Anna's Pepparkakor Holding:
“The integration of Anna’s is proceeding to plan and is of major importance as a potential source of further growth in North America and in the Nordic countries," said the bakery group.
And Lotus said that capital expenditure was in line with 2008, consisting mainly of investments in capacity extensions and innovation in plants including the gingerbread bakeries in the Netherlands, the Pepparkakor factory in Stockholm and the cake factory in Belgium.
The company added that the still uncertain economic environment makes it still difficult to produce specific forecasts for 2010 and the coming years, but that it is confident that the fundamentals exist for further sales and profitability growth in the longer term.