For the full year, margins also went down 1.2 percentage points to 10.3 per cent, even though the company posted a 5.8 per cent increase in net sales to SEK 3,253m (€354m). The company's performance started to pick up in the fourth quarter, however, as sales rose by 12 per cent to SEK 1,110m (€117.8m). Operating also went to SEK 156m, (€16.6m) a year on year increase of 15 per cent, the company said, leading to a slight margin increase of 0.4 percentage points to 14.1 per cent. Cloetta Fazer chief executive officer Jesper Aberg said plans to focus on local markets, first put in place last year, has paid off for the company during recent months. "Although the increase primarily in the Baltic countries and Russia has taken place from a low level, these are markets with enormous potential," he said. In 2007, Cloetta Fazer acquired the chewing gum company Fennobon Oy, the only domestic gum manufacturer in Finland, and the Swedish pastilles-maker Karamellpojkarna, the third biggest supplier of throat pastilles in Sweden. Aberg described both these acquisitions as "important steps towards realisation of our growth target." The group's long-term goal over a three-year period is to grow by 25 per cent, with particular focus on Russia, Denmark and Norway, Aberg said. Cloetta Fazer is currently one of the largest confectioners in the Nordic region, with a 22 per cent market share. The company has 1,500 employees, with 600 in Finland and 370 in Sweden, and produces throat lozenges, toffee and lollipops as well as chocolate.