Switzerland-based baker Hiestand Group today (18 April) unveiled "strong" organic growth during the first quarter of the year, with sales rising 12.8%.

Hiestand said sales rose to CHF185.1m (US$180.7m), up from CHF164.7m a year earlier.

"We are pleased with the momentum we have built," a spokesperson for the company told just-food. "We anticipate that sales will continue to grow throughout the year."

In Europe, Hiestand said turnover rose 13.1%, "significantly above" the 12.3% increase reported the previous year.

In Asia, the company saw sales growth slow from 11.6% in the first quarter of 2007 to 5.1% this quarter. Hiestand said that this was the consequence of a streamlining of its Japanese offering - a move the group said would improve profits.

Hiestand said that it remains optimistic that it will achieve sales growth of between 8% and 10% in fiscal 2008.

Hiestand produces frozen convenience bakery products for sale in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Malaysia, Japan and Turkey.

In 2007, the company recorded sales of CHF740.6m.