Glisten's ambitions offer a golden future

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The Independent Online

If You've got a sweet tooth, shares in Glisten, the confectioner, should have given you a sugar buzz over the past six months.

If You've got a sweet tooth, shares in Glisten, the confectioner, should have given you a sugar buzz over the past six months.

We recommended the shares at 228.5p in July on the tasty prospects of a specialist toffee maker that it had just bought. The shares closed yesterday at 301.5p, following another strong set of figures.

Growth has come predominantly from small, bolt-on acquisitions, and since buying the toffee group, Glisten has expanded further from its range of mini-eggs, popcorn, wine gums and chocolate-covered raisins into cereal bars. In December it acquired Halo, a cereal bar and health snack manufacturer which makes products for major retailers. With obesity and eating healthilya growing pressure in daily life, cereal and energy snacks are becoming a popular alternative to chocolate bars. It also has a Fair Trade range.

Halo has transformed Glisten and sales in the first two months of this year grew at 150 per cent the level of the same period last year. But even without its impact, Brits just cannot say no to fruit jellies, toffees and chocolate, pushing turnover up 50 per cent to £14m and profits before tax were 21 per cent to £1.1m.

Now with greater scale, Glisten can start to create manufacturing and marketing synergies and benefit from stronger buying power. Halo has yet to make a contribution to sales and should provide a boost to earnings of 25 per cent. Glisten has ambitions for more acquisitions. Provided it does not bite off more than it can chew, the shares are still a buy.

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