UK confectioner Zetar secures funds to meet growth targets

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Snack food Candy bar Meal

UK based confectionery and snack foods firm Zetar said a refinancing deal with lender HSBC Holdings to the tune of £45m will help it meet its organic sales growth plans for the next four years.

Zetar, which makes Kinnerton chocolate and also has a natural snacks business, said its new financing package provides it with a combination of asset-based and revolving credit facilities.

The manufacturer requires working capital to ensure a smooth work flow as it is involved in the production of a lot of festive orientated chocolate products and produces a lot of stock before it is needed.

The company, which is also involved in private label and sub-contract manufacture, said the funding will provide the necessary working capital to meet its sales targets up to 2014.

Ian Blackburn, Zetar's CEO, said that the refinancing deal underlines the potential of the business and its innovation led sales plans for continued growth.

He told this publication previously that the confectionery and snack maker aims to deliver those margins through maximising cost synergies across its seven UK production sites, explaining that the firm had centralised raw material buying, and will shift production from one facility to another to ensure cost efficiencies are met.

The company last posted financial results for the year ended 30 April 2010, showing sales had increased 10 per cent to reach £131m.

Zetar’s confectionery division accounts for approximately two thirds of total group revenue, with its natural and premium snacks unit responsible for the remaining third of revenue.

Its confectionery sales, reported the company in May, saw a hike of nine per cent to £82m, with the manufacturer citing notable successes in growing sales from its three factories of branded, private label and third party all-year-round chocolate products.

Raw materials costs, added the group, were less volatile during most of the year and the also helped its margins recovery.

Blackburn told this publication that its ‘no added sugar’ Fruit Factory brand, which was extended last year, has been currying favour with parents seeking ‘better for you’ school lunch options as they look like confectionery products, while he said its flavoured nut ranges are appealing to adults intent on a healthier lifestyle.

And he is optimistic that earnings for 2010 will be significantly up on last year.

The group also plans to grow acquisitively if suitable opportunities arise, and Blackburn sees investment in a facility that would enable Zetar control of distribution to continental European based retailers as essential for increasing exports. However, he would not be drawn on the timing of such a venture.

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