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Finsbury debt pile trimmed by Genius deal

Breads and cakes group Finsbury Food, which earlier this year sold its Free From business to Edinburgh-based gluten-free baker Genius, today said the deal had helped slash its debt pile.

The group, which employs more than 1,000 people at its Hamilton site, where it bakes cakes under the Disney and Thorntons brands, said the £21 million sale of Free From had helped to cut its total debts to below £10m, compared with £34m a year ago.

Finsbury also said that shareholders were in line to receive a final dividend of 0.5p a share, on top of an interim payout of 0.25p.

Chief executive John Duffy said profits for the year to June would be “significantly ahead” of the group’s expectations, despite “challenging” conditions across its consumer markets.

The deal with Genius, announced in February, saw the Edinburgh-based firm buy the Livwell bakery in Hull and United Central Bakeries in Bathgate, where its breads had been produced under contract.

Genius was founded in 2009 by chef Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, who created the company’s first bread recipe after her son was diagnosed with coeliac disease.

Duffy said: “The sale of Free From has proven hugely beneficial for the group, allowing further investment and laying the foundation for continued growth.

“The board is committed to continuing the successes of the past year, and I am confident that our improvements will assure shareholders and consumers alike of the company’s fortitude and resilience in what continue to be adverse trading conditions.”

Source: - 15 July 2013