Finland-based food group Raisio saw sales and profits rise in 2010, driven by the purchase of UK snack maker Glisten in the early part of the year.

Sales totalled EUR443m (US$603.6m) in 2010, a 17.9% increase on 2009. Turnover were boosted by the Glisten purchase as well as by “good sales development” in the company’s main brands in all market areas, the firm said today (10 February).

Raisio’s group EBIT climbed 4.4% to EUR19.4m.

In the firm’s business-to-business division, sales rose to EUR208.3m from EUR205.6m, although EBIT dropped to EUR2.1m from EUR3m a year earlier. Raisio said it lost market share in poultry feeds as a result of new competition in the market.

Sales in its brands division amounted to EUR236.4m, up from EUR177.6m. However, EBIT dropped slightly to EUR20m from EUR20.5m. Raisio’s local brands, which include Elovena, Sunnuntai, Carlshamn and Nordic, experienced a “challenging” market in western Europe, due to the promotion-driven market.

In northern Europe, sales volumes increased in Finland and Sweden, with particular growth seen in healthy snacks that are part of the Elovena range.

In eastern Europe, sales and volumes of the Nordic cereals brand “developed well” in spite of the Russian government ban to adjust product prices to meet increased raw material costs, the firm said. Sales and volumes of Benecol products grew in Asia and South America.

Looking ahead, CEO Matti Rihko said the company will continue to be active in the area of acquisitions.

The firm last week announced it had bought UK-based Big Bear Group, owner of brands like Sugar Puffs cereal, for EUR95.3m.

“The group’s strong balance sheet and cash flow provide a good foundation for acquisition activities as far as there are suitable companies available fitting our strategy and meeting our preset criteria,” Rihko said. “During the growth phase, Raisio aims to maintain the earlier 4-5% level of profitability.”

Raisio share climbed 2.6% to EUR2.58 at 09:52 GMT today.

Click here to view the full earnings release.