Earlier today, US officials revived the share fortunes of Raisio by announcing that Benecol margarine may justifiably be marketed as ‘cholesterol-reducing’ rather than as merely ‘promoting healthy cholesterol.’

The decision, made by the US Food and Drug Administration, means that the food and chemicals group can now sell the spread in packaging which announces its positive health benefits in reducing cholesterol. Investors welcomed the move that will increase its popularity in the US, where heart disease is a major killer.

The Benecol dietary supplement contains stanol ester, a natural plant extract which blocks the absorption of dietary cholesterol and results in a significant lowering of serum and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. The product has been available in Finland for many years but has been underperforming in foreign markets.

This morning’s stock market action was a turnaround for Raisio, whose investors hope that Benecol will now prove more popular and the product range, which includes cheese and health bars, can now expand further. The company’s share value rocketed by nearly 35% to €2.6 and it demonstrated the best performance in Europe today.