Profits snowball at confectionery firm Lees

Lees Foods chief Clive Miquel in the firm's Coatbridge plant
Lees Foods chief Clive Miquel in the firm's Coatbridge plant
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Snowball and macaroon bar maker Lees Foods has reported some tasty full-year figures as a multi-million pound investment at its Coatbridge plant lifted margins.

The iconic Scots confectionery firm, which also owns the Waverley Bakery business, said sales across the group rose to £27.4 million in 2014 from £26.3m a year earlier. Profit before tax jumped 23 per cent to just over £1.7m, excluding exceptional items.

Chief executive Clive Miquel said the firm had performed “exceptionally well” during the year, with “solid trading” across all areas of the business.

“The Waverley Bakery enjoyed a particularly good summer helping achieve record turnover of over £6m for the year,” he said.

“We have now completed an investment of over £1.7m installing a brand new production line in our Coatbridge factory with ‘robots’ undertaking automatic packing for our volume teacake and snowball packs.”

Miquel added: “We launched a new advertising campaign in April 2015, our first in over ten years, to coincide with a targeted social media programme to engage directly with our customers. Both have delivered positively against targets and investment.”

An increase in efficiencies meant that margins improved to 32.9 per cent from 31.1 per cent, although the firm warned of “volatility in commodity prices, especially in coconut and chocolate”.

Following a successful claim against HM Revenue & Customs for overpaid output tax on snowballs between 2008 and 2014, the firm received just over £2m, which helped finance the factory investment.