A strong fourth quarter has boosted annual sales at France-based vegetables group Bonduelle.

The company said today (8 August) that turnover for the 12 months to the end of June rose 5.1% to EUR1.3bn (US$1.8bn). Sales during the April to June quarter climbed almost 7%.

Bonduelle said there had been a "revival" in demand in Western Europe with, for example, sales of canned vegetables in the EU rising 8% during the company's fourth quarter.

Frozen vegetables, a sector that had been static in recent years, grew by 3.4%, Bonduelle said. However, the company blamed a mild winter for hitting sales of chilled vegetables.

Sales outside the EU, where Bonduelle has recently expanded its business, jumped by over 15%.

Last month, the company secured the acquisition of Aliments Carrière, Canada's leading frozen and canned vegetable processor. Bonduelle said that deal would lead to a "major shift" in the focus of its business in the next financial year. A third of its business will remain in France; one third will remain in the Eurozone, with the rest elsewhere but predominantly in North America and Eastern Europe.

Bonduelle will publish its full annual figures on 9 October.