“We are winning on all fronts. There is nothing that is not improving.” This was how Alwin Thompson, chief executive of UK cakes and pastries group Inter Link Foods, summed up the group’s performance over the last six months.

One of the group’s core products is character cakes, which it sells to the major multiples for own-label. Harry Potter cakes performed “phenomenally well,” driven by the success of the recently released film of J. K. Rowling’s book. Sales of Bob the Builder and Winnie the Pooh cakes were also strong.

Pre-tax profits climbed 55% to £1.16m (US$1.68m) in the six months to 31 October on sales of £22.6m (2000: £6.73m).

The group acquired four companies during the period under review, which constituted the main factor behind a tripling of sales. Newton House Bakery and the Creative Cake Company have now been integrated into AIM-listed Inter Link, said Thompson. The Cakes for the Connoisseur operation acquired from the receivers last February has been returned to profitability and is expected to make a stronger contribution in the second half.

Inter Link is also about to exercise a £200,000 option to purchase the William Lusty Bakery, which it also bought from receivers. The payment forms the second part of a £400,000 purchase programme. William Lusty contributed £173,000 in operating profits generated from turnover worth £1.7m in the half-year under review. “It was in disastrous shape financially and we have sorted it out,” said Thompson.

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