Half year sales jump up 43 per cent for UK confectioner Lees

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

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UK confectionery and bakery maker Lees Food claims an increased focus on production planning helped generate greater efficiencies and boost growth as it announces a 43 per cent jump in half-year profits.

The Coatbridge-based firm, which produces macaroon bars and snowballs, reported a solid 9 per cent increase in sales to £9.6m along with pre-tax profits of £562,000 in the six months to 30 June.

Darren Shirley, an analyst with Shore Capital, told ConfectioneryNews.com that against a backdrop of rising input costs, the delivery of such strong margin progress reflects well on the new management structure, focus and control at Lees.

The interim results were in line with the analyst's expectations for the group released in July this year.

According to Shirley, ongoing focus on improving efficiency has been a strong feature of the current team’s 12 months at the helm.

The analyst said that the growth had been broad-based across Lees, with both Lees of Scotland and Waverley experiencing record H1 turnover levels, and Lees of Scotland having particularly “encouraging”​ sales in meringues and biscuits.

Lees Food said investment in machinery such as a new meringue depositor installed last year are now delivering benefits and represent a positive ROI.

Chief executive of the group, Clive Miquel, said that the company will continue to focus on improving efficiency to mitigate against potential cost pressures.

He said that the directors would consider potential acquisition opportunities to generate additional growth if it seemed right for the company but the focus would remain on core business.

"Looking ahead to the full year performance, despite raw material costs remaining uncertain, we expect both sales and pre-tax profits to be in line with market forecasts,” ​commented Miquel.

"Sales have benefited from the general uplift within the major multiples in the food sector across the Lees' product range and we have increased our market penetration in the area of food service,” ​he added.

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