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January 24, 2008

SWITZ: Hiestand reports record 2007

Swiss baker Hiestand has reported record sales growth for the full year, as the company benefited from both acquisitions and a strong organic performance.

Swiss baker Hiestand has reported record sales growth for the full year, as the company benefited from both acquisitions and a strong organic performance.

The company said total sales had leapt 43.5% to CHF740.7m (US$679.43) in 2007.

In a statement, Hiestand said: “Measured in absolute figures this represents by far the biggest annual sales growth in the company’s history.”

After adjusting for acquisitions, growth came to 16.9%, of which 2.4% was due to currency fluctuations.

“The board of directors and group executive committee believe that the company will also achieve its earnings and profit targets for the last financial year,” the statement said.

In Europe, sales went up last year by 45.8%, slightly higher than the group average, to CHF712.8m. After adjusting for the acquisition-driven growth of 28% from the purchase of German company Fricopan, which is currently being integrated into the Hiestand Group, Hiestand’s organic growth in Europe came to 17.8%. Currency factors accounted for 2.8% of this.

The company noted that in 2007, Germany became Hiestand’s biggest sales market and, therefore, its second home market alongside Switzerland. In Asia, sales went up by 2.7% despite negative currency effects of -4.5%.

In the fourth quarter, organic growth was practically double the year-back figure at 19.9% (of which 2.5% was due to currency fluctuations), contributing substantially to the much improved quarterly sales of CHF196.8m (+28.1%).

“Hiestand believes that the company’s excellent performance is due not just to the generally positive climate for consumer spending, but also to the strength of its business model, which focuses on the continuously growing trend towards convenience, and which is based on control of the whole value chain,” the company said.

“Hiestand is also confident that it can grow faster than the markets in which it operates, and take an active part in the ongoing consolidation process within Europe.”

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