Swiss bakery group Hiestand has reported a 19.8% rise in 2004 sales to CHF397.5m (US$334.0m) compared to the previous year.

Of the total sales increase, organic growth contributed 10.0%, the acquisition of Back & Friends 9.4%, and exchange rate effects 0.4%.

"As a result of the measures implemented to boost efficiency and the marked growth in sales, Hiestand anticipates exceeding its stated earnings targets: an EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) margin of 9.5% and net income margin of over 5%," the company said.

Sales in the company's domestic market of Switzerland rose by 10.2% versus the previous year. Hiestand Germany's sales increased by 41.0%, boosted by organic growth of 15.5% and the acquisition of Back & Friends, which contributed a further 25.5% increase.

Hiestand Poland generated solid sales growth of 7.1%, while Hiestand Japan generated growth of 12.8%. The company said the outlook for the Japanese market is "very promising". In Southeast Asia, the company's sales rose 10.9%.