Sweden's AarhusKarlshamn has highlighted the progress it has made growing earnings and stripping costs from the business.

Speaking at a Capital Markets Day in Stockholm today (11 November), AAK CEO Jerker Hartwall said that since the 2005 merger of Aarhus United and Karlshamns into AAK, the group has been able to "accelerate growth, strengthen competitiveness, optimise investments and improve cash flow".

After four years of operating as a combined company, Hartwall said EBIT had grown by around 90%.

"We have strengthened our competitive position through the combined resources of the two companies," he added.

Through an "aggressive" cost-cutting strategy, the group has also improved its balance sheet and cash flow, Hartwall claimed.

AAK is eyeing further savings of SEK100m (US$14.7m), expected in "late" 2010, and another SEK200m will be achieved in the second half of 2011.

"As from 2012, AAK will thus be operated with a cost base that is half a billion lower per year than the two companies' total cost base the year before the merger," Hartwall emphasised.