Icelandic food group Bakkavör has posted narrowing first-quarter losses as sales rose over the three-month period, despite a tough trading environment.

The company’s first-quarter loss totalled GBP8.1m (US$12.8m), down from a loss of GBP12.8m for the comparable period of last year.

Sales increased 9% to GBP410m, benefitting from currency movements. On a constant currency basis, sales were up 1%, the group revealed.

“We have achieved good sales growth in the quarter relative to the economic situation, underpinned by our operational flexibility, market share gains in the UK, and strong performance in our European, Asia and US operations,” CEO Ágúst Gudmundsson said.

While first-quarter EBTDA was down 29% at GBP18.7m, the group said it anticipates full-year EBITDA to grow by about 15% as benefits from restructuring will grow “significantly” during the year.

“We expect Q1 to mark the last period of year-on-year decline in EBITDA with the impact of disruption from restructuring coming to an end and our actions to mitigate inflationary costs, improve operational efficiencies and capacity utilisation now starting to deliver improved profits to the business. By the end of 2009 we expect our EBITDA to grow by around 15% to GBP125m,” Gudmundsson said.