Natural brands help Lotus grow

Natural brands help Lotus grow

Lotus Bakeries has reported a surge in first-half sales and earnings, with the Belgium-based snacks group reporting underlying and M&A-driven growth.

The company said sales increased 31.1% in the first six months of the year, rising to EUR256.4m (US$289.1m). Organic growth stood at 14% in the period, Lotus revealed. 

Higher revenue was supported by increased international demand for its original caramelised biscuits, Lotus Biscoff, its spread product under the same name and the contribution of its natural foods division, which centre around four brands the company has acquired in the last year - Nakd, Trek, Bear and Urban Fruit.

Last August, Lotus Bakeries bought a majority stake in Natural Balance Foods, the UK firm behind snack bar brands Nakd and Trek for GBP60m (US$78.6m).

In December, Lotus Bakeries acquired another UK business, Urban Fresh Foods, the owner of the Bear and Urban Fruit brands.

Lotus Bakeries revealed compared to the first half of 2015, the turnover from its natural foods division has seen organic growth of "well over" 25%. 

Operating profit rose 53.4% to EUR43.39m. "The increase in the operating result is due to strong growth in turnover for Lotus Biscoff, Lotus Biscoff spread and for [the] natural foods [division]," Lotus noted. Net earnings increased 43% to EUR30.84m.

CEO Jan Boone said: "The results for the first half of the year have exceeded even my own expectations. I'm especially proud that we continue to grow so strongly with our core product, the Lotus Biscoff biscuit, with which it all started for my grandfather over 80 years ago. We're already present in many countries with Lotus Biscoff, but I'm convinced that we can win over many more consumers around the world with our unique taste."