Baxters Food Group, the UK-based soup and convenience foods maker, has reported a 40% rise in sales in its most recent financial year thanks to an acquisition in the US - but underlying sales were down.

The company booked turnover of GBP226.3m for the year to the 30 May 2015, up from GBP160.7m in the previous 12 months.

In October 2014, Baxters snapped up US business The Wornick Co. for GBP87.4m.

However, Baxters, which markets soup under its namesake brand and owns the Fray Bentos business in the UK, said its turnover from existing operations fell 6.2% year-on-year to GBP150.8m.

The acquisition of Wornick meant Baxters generated more of its sales outside the UK. The UK market accounted for GBP101.2m of turnover, versus GBP125.1m internationally.

Operating profit before exceptional items - which included restructuring and refinancing costs - was GBP10.3m, versus GBP7.9m a year earlier. Without those exceptional items but including the impact of M&A, Baxters' operating profit was GBP4.8m, against GBP4.2m in the previous year. Without the contribution from the acquired business, Baxters made an operating loss of GBP1.5m.

Baxters' pre-tax profits were GBP157,000, up from GBP146,000 a year earlier.

A higher tax bill meant Baxters made a net loss of GBP379,000, compared to a profit of GBP23,000 a year before.

Baxters said the company had "performed in line with expectations". It described the deal for Wornick as "an excellent strategic acquisition".

Looking ahead, Baxters said it would look to integrate Wornick and "focus on a key NPD programme for our wider customer base".

The company is also planning "a major initiative in our UK and central European operations". 

It added: "The board of directors remain excited with our strategic plans and the steps we are taking to make Baxters a stronger manufacturing group for the future. We have confidence in our robust management team and their plans to move forward positively."