Swedish confectioner Cloetta has suffered a loss in its fourth quarter results as its merger with Dutch firm Leaf International gets regulatory approval.
Both companies were struck by increasing raw material costs and falling sales in the core Swedish market.
Cloetta previously published its results in December last year. However the results have been restated to include December 2011 after a decision was taken to change the company’s financial year following the Leaf merger.
Although results for Cloetta and Leaf were given separately, a pro forma financial statement was also provided to show what profits would have been had the merger gone through on 1 January.
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Cloetta Q4 net sales stood at €30.9m (SEK 272m), down around 14% on the same period last year.
Operating profit also fell by almost 60% to €1m (SEK 9m).
Cloetta CEO Curt Petri said: “Total sales for December were down mainly as a result of our choice not to focus on filled chocolate boxes to the same extent as last year, as well as lower sales in the Private Label segment.”
The company added in a statement: “The overall market conditions were challenging during 2011 with consumer demand being flat or down in most markets.”
The decline in Scandinavia was mainly due to an overall market decline and IKEA’s decision to launch private labels worldwide instead of continuing to sell brands.
Last week, the Swedish competition authority gave the go ahead for Cloetta to acquire all shares in Leaf.
Total sales for the new Cloetta in 2011 would have stood at a combined €624m (SEK 5.5bn), while operating profit would have been €227m (SEK 2bn). The majority of sales would have come from the Leaf side of the business.
Euromonitor market analyst Pasi Hannonen previously told this site that the new Cloetta would be the biggest player in Scandinavia and would overtake Kraft in Sweden.
Cloetta said that it would be launching several new products in the first quarter of 2012, including new items under the Kexchoklad, Sportlunch and Pop brands.
The company confirmed last month that it was closing a production facility in Slagelse, Demark and would move production to Levice, Slovakia.
Petri added that the Leaf merger would create fresh opportunities for the firm.
“We will gain at least five complementary segments where we are market-leaders in Sweden and a very firm footing in the Nordic market,” he said.
“In addition, LEAF’s presence in countries like the Netherlands and Italy will create new opportunities for business outside the Nordic region,” he continued.