Australian pie maker Patties Foods has predicted it will report a 7% increase in annual profits despite what the company termed a “difficult” trading environment.

Patties management said that pre-tax profits are expected to total A$19.2-19.7m in the year to 30 June, up from A$18.4m last year. Net profit after tax is expected to total A$8.4-8.9m, the company added.

Managing director Greg Bourke said the profit growth came on the back of “significantly” higher sales as the company won new contracts and developed its branded portfolio. However, he revealed that during the second-half margins were hit as competition from private label stepped up.

“The trading environment remains challenging with continuing margin pressure and low consumer sentiment,” he said. “However, we will continue to invest in developing new, innovative branded products and drive our long-term growth initiatives.”