Finsbury Food Group (FIF) was a comparatively small specialist baker with a reputation for having spoilt a full years results by putting too much chocolate in its cakes over one Christmas a few years ago. Now it is a major presence in the baking industry with the acquisition of Fletchers bakery in October 2014 and Johnstones in June 2015 making it one of the largest specialist bakers in the UK.
The share price has also changed beyond all recognition.From 20p in the middle of 2011 it almost quadrupled to reach 74.6p just over two years later and it looked like the company which had always been full of promise but never really delivered, may at last be doing so. Then 2014 was a flat year with the share price sliding back to 58p by the start of 2015, after which it never looked back, rising to 107p by mid November.
A trading update issued on the 25th Novermber showed that like for like sales for the first four months of the current year were up by10.1% and that the integration of the newly acquired companies was going well.
Christmas saw a strong trading performance which continued into January with sales up by 46%, European sales up by 18.8% and overall like for like growth of 7.4%. Fletchers had produced a particularly strong performance.
The share price is now at 108p, with a price earnings ratio of 18.62 and yielding 2.3%. With more than a fivefold increase over the past 5 years it has grown steadily rather than spectacularly but to any investor that is a very acceptable return.
The interims are due on the 16th March.