Switzerland-based food group Huegli reported a 2% drop in sales for 2012, but added that it has recovered from a “slump” in the third-quarter of the year.

Huegli said today (29 January) that net sales for the 12 months to the end of December fell by 2.2% versus 2011, to CHF324.8m (US$349.6m).

Sales fell by 0.6% in local currencies, as growth in the group’s private label and brand solutions businesses failed to offset an unexpected third-quarter decline in its food industry, consumer brands and food service divisions.

As previously predicted, profits for 2012 will be lower than originally anticipated. Higher raw materials costs and lower sales mean EBIT margin is likely to drop below the 7% mark, versus a margin of 8.6% in 2011.

However, on a more upbeat note, Huegli said that sales in the final three months of 2012 pulled out of an unexpected drop in the third quarter. “In the fourth quarter, growth rates were again positive, and the slump experienced in the late summer is therefore considered a one-off effect,” said the group.

In its outlook, Huegli said that it expects sales and EBIT to rise by 10% in 2013. Results will be bolstered by the acquisition of food service business Vogeley Group at the start of the year, while raw materials costs are believed to have peaked.