Swiss baker Hiestand has posted a better-than-expected 58% rise in 2003 net profit to CHF18.3m (US$14.0m).

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 24% to CHF30.4m for 2003. Analysts had forecast net profit of around CHF15m and EBIT of around CHF28m, reported Reuters.

Sales were CHF331.9m for 2003, a rise of 10.1% compared to the previous year. Sales for the first quarter of 2004 were up 18% to CHF89.3m.