Lotus Bakeries expects to “consolidate” its turnover in 2017 after 12 months of “record growth” but has set out more markets for the Nakd and Bear brands the Belgium-based food group snapped up in 2015. 

The company bought a 67% stake in the owner of Nakd, UK firm Natural Balance Foods, in August 2015, following that deal four months later with the acquisition of Bear snacks firm Urban Fresh Foods, another UK business.

The two deals helped drive rising sales and profits at Lotus Bakeries in 2016, although the company also reported growth on an organic basis.

Last year, Lotus Bakeries set up a new “natural foods” division to house the brands it had acquired through the deals for Natural Balance Foods and Urban Fresh Foods – brands that also included Trek and Urban Fruit – and sought to expand their international presence.

Nakd and Trek were launched in the Netherlands in 2016 and those brands are set to hit more markets this year. “In 2017, further steps will be taken to introduce these brands in Belgium, Germany and the United States as well,” Lotus said, as it announced its annual results. “Lotus Bakeries believes very strongly in the international potential of its brands in this new category. However, this will take a great deal of time and investment.”

In 2016, Lotus Bakeries generated net profit of EUR62.5m (US$66.6m), up 36.9% on 2015. EBIT jumped 40.4% to EUR88.5m.

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Turnover grew 23.2% to EUR507.2m. On an organic basis, turnover increased 11.6%. The company pointed to “the continuing international growth” of its Lotus Biscoff biscuits and spread.

Looking to this year, it said: “Following a year of record growth in absolute terms, the aim is to consolidate this turnover in 2017. A challenging ambition, bearing in mind the negative impact of the weaker pound sterling. This impact is expected to be greatest in the first half of 2017.”