Fakenham confectioner Kinnerton hopes for sweet success in Europe

Kinnerton's at Fakenham. Site Director Gordon Chetwood. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Kinnerton's at Fakenham. Site Director Gordon Chetwood. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Fakenham-based Kinnerton Confectionery said it was benefiting from being part of a wider group as it targets fresh growth across Europe.

The EDP Top100 firm is working closely with its sister companies in the German-based Zertus Group to continue to expand its international footprint beyond its operations in the UK and Australia.

However, market and trade pressures – sparked by the escalating cost of cocoa and retailers demanding lower prices – remains a key challenge for the company going forward.

In the eight months to December 21 2013, Kinnerton – which recently changed its accounting period – recorded a turnover of £48.45m, while pre-tax profits sat at £2.19m. In its last full year of trading to April 27 2013, turnover hit £75,129m, with pre-tax profits reaching £3.96m

Gordon Chetwood, Kinnerton's Fakenham site director, said the Zertus Group was supporting its plans to expand its Oxborough Lane factory by 25,000 square feet.

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'We have had a good first year with our new owners,' he said. 'The market is challenging and we have had to work hard, but we have managed to grow, which is a good thing. This growth has come from the existing customer base.

'The challenges are not getting any easier when it comes to price, so we fully anticipate those challenges to remain. There is some opportunity for some growth in Europe through our sister companies,' he added. 'These are opportunities that we are now able to exercise from being part of a wider group.'

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The company, whose key customers include Marks and Spencers and the major supermarkets, employs more than 600 people in Norfolk.

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