AIM listed confectionery and snack food group Zetar has today (6 November) issued a trading update ahead of its first half results, pointing to increased sales that were driven by acquisitions throughout the period.  

Zetar said that it has made “healthy” progress during the first half of 2006, with continued strong growth at Kinnerton being supplemented by the acquisitions of Readifoods, Humdinger and Salamanda and their integration into the enlarged group. 

Following these acquisitions, the group was reorganised into two divisions, of confectionery and natural and premium snacks. The confectionery unit consists of novelty chocolate manufacturer Kinnerton and premium chocolate and yoghurt coated fruits and nuts Salamanda, which was acquired in October. The company’s natural and premium snack division is made up of Readifoods, a processor of premium nuts and dried fruits that was acquired in March, and Humdinger, manufacturer of dried fruits, nuts and ‘healthier’ snacks, including crisps and bars, which was acquired in July.

Group sales for the first six months of the year, ended 31 October, exceeded GBP37m (US$70,15m), up from GBP21.9m reported for the comparable period of last year.

The company said that this increase in sales was driven by a successful second quarter at Kinnerton, with strong Christmas sales of private label and Kinnerton brand products. The initial contributions from Readifoods and Humdinger are in line with expectations, the company added.

Zetar said that it is currently evaluating further acquisition targets in the UK and Europe. “The group’s acquisition strategy and organic growth is developing on plan and we believe that we are well placed to take advantage of the trend towards healthier snacking,” the company said in its statement to the London stock exchange.