Swiss bakery firm Hiestand has forecast a more than 9% rise in 2003 sales and an even greater rise in earnings.

The company reported an 8.7% rise in third-quarter sales, and said nine-month turnover rose 9.4% to CHF243.7m (US$187.0m).

“For the whole year the board of directors and group management expect sales growth of over nine percent and an over-proportional rise in profitability,” the company was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The company also said IAWS Group, which has a 22% stake in Hiestand, had taken over its Hiestand UK business and would now exclusively distribute Hiestand products in the UK and Ireland.