UK confectionery and snack maker Zetar has posted an increase in annual sales and said it expects to book fiscal 2009 pre-tax profits in line with market expectations.

The company said its sales from continuing operations during the year rose 10% to GBP119m (US$178m).

Sales from continuing activities in the company's confectionery division rose 10% in the year to 30 April, to GBP75m from GBP68m. The figure was helped by a later and extended Easter trading period.

"We are pleased to report that Kinnerton brand products performed extremely well with our share of the Easter egg market increasing by almost 19% to 5%," the company said on Friday (8 May).

Natural and premium snack sales also rose 10%, to GBP44m. Raw material cost inflation had a "significant" impact on the division in the first half of the year, particularly during the summer, Zetar said.  However, a number of sales price increases, allied to higher volumes on existing lines and the launch of new value products contributed to the increase.

The company said it had a "good finish" to the year, which culminated in the disposal of its loss-making baked snacks business.

Assisted by its GBP2m placing of new shares in February, Zetar has recorded "new business wins" in its remaining two divisions, particularly for products in the value sector.

"The board looks forward to resuming the profitable growth trend of the company and is confident of a successful year ahead," Zetar said.

The company will post its fiscal 2009 results on 22 July.