A focus on costs and profitable products enabled ready meals-to-meat group Ter Beke to grow earnings in 2014 despite a drop in sales during the year.

The Belgium-based company said this morning (27 February) that EBITDA increased to EUR31.4m (US$35.8m), a rise of 9.8%. Excluding depreciation and amortization, the operating result was up 30.6% to EUR13.8m. Net profit was further boosted by lower finance costs, rising 31.1% to EUR8.1m.

Ter Beke said profitability was up at both of its business units. "The improvement continued in both divisions, which have benefited from the increased focus on the profitability of the product range and extensive cost-savings and reductions," the company said.

The sales picture was more mixed as the group discontinued less profitable lines. In ready meals, sales increased 1/8% partially offsetting the 3.3% drop in ready meal sales. Total sales fell 1.5% to EUR399.7m.

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