Cerealia, the Swedish cereals, bread and flour group, said profits after net financial items fell 23% to SKr213m last year. The company blamed poor performances in its Danish milling and bread operations, citing tougher competition from German players and high input prices, for the decline in earnings.

Managing director Håkan Ahlqvist conceded synergies and cost-savings expected from foreign acquisitions had not yet materialised. Cerealia bought five companies and production plants during last year. More than half of the group's SKr5.5bn in sales last year derived from markets outside Sweden. Net sales were up a mere 1.5% from 1999.

By just-food.com correspondent based in Scandinavia