Stevia firm PureCircle today (22 September) posted plunging annual profits after a year of “tough decisions” when it switched all sales solely to end users.

The Malaysia-based firm posted net profit of GBP1m (US$1.6m) for the year to 30 June, against GBP11.2m a year earlier.

PureCircle said its net profit was hit by higher production costs and investments in its sales organisation. The company decided during the year to sell only to the end users of its stevia products, rather than to a trading partner.

The decision also had an impact on the group’s sales, which stood at GBP60.7m, compared to GBP60m a year ago. However, PureCircle said underlying sales to end users jumped from GBP25m to GBP60m.

“There have been some challenges in the last twelve months, notably as we implemented our strategic decision to move all sales solely direct to end users,” said PureCircle chairman Paul Selway-Swift. “However, the high-purity stevia market is undoubtedly accelerating and as it does so the strength of our direct customer base and of our partners will justify fully the tough decisions taken this year.”

Earlier today, PureCircle announced plans to team up with French sugar giant Tereos to market low-calorie sweeteners in Europe and Brazil.

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By GlobalData