Zetar has booked an increase in first-half sales, boosted by ongoing cost efficiencies and innovation.

For the period to the end of October, sales climbed by 2.2% to reach GBP61.7m (US$99m), the UK confectioner said in a trading update today (9 November). The increase was achieved despite the firm's snacks division exiting around GBP10m per annum of low margin commodity business at the start of the financial year.

Adjusting for this impact, and the acquisition of Derwent Lynton in April, the underlying turnover growth for the period was around 7.7%.

Despite the GBP1m invested in the Derwent Lynton acquisition, including reorganisation costs, Zetar said it has continued to reduce debt levels, which now stand at GBP24.4m, down from GBP26m in the same period last year.

Zetar will publish its first-half earnings results in January.