Swedish confectionery group Cloetta Fazer celebrated Christmas in style with a 5 per cent increase in fourth quarter sales to SK985 million, the company announced yesterday. Operating profits for the same period were ahead 4 per cent to SK145 million.
For the year as a whole, sales were up 3 per cent to SK3.1 billion, while operating profits increased by 6 per cent to SK394 million.
"The final quarter of the year is our most significant in terms of earnings, since the Christmas sales fall during this period," said Cloetta Fazer's CEO Karsten Slotte.
"I feel we have achieved a strong result, particularly in view of the price increases for cocoa which affected the fourth quarter. Sales in our two main markets, Sweden and Finland, which together account for over 60 per cent of total sales, rose by 2 and 11 per cent respectively," continued Slotte.
"In the Polish market, which is in the midst of dramatic restructuring, sales were down 6 per cent. However, I consider this decrease to be temporary, since we are successively adapting to the new market conditions. It should also be noted that we have continued streamlining the product range and achieved positive sales growth for our key brands."
Cloetta's CEO continued: "The previous year's sale of Business Area Handel and a continued strong cash flow from operating activities has given the group excellent liquidity and a strong equity ratio. Cloetta Fazer is thus financially well-equipped for the future and has the means for ongoing investment in both organic and acquisition-driven growth."
He added that the Nordic region would continue to be the base for Cloetta Fazer's operations, but that there was significant potential for expansion in other parts of the Baltic Rim.
The Cloetta Fazer Group is already the Nordic region's largest confectionery company, with a market share of 22 per cent. It has production facilities and sales companies in Sweden, Finland and Poland, a partly owned sales company in Norway, representation offices in the Baltic countries and sales agencies in the other markets. It is best known for its brands such as Fazer Bla, Kexchoklad, Dumle, Geisha, Center and Polly.