Finlay Beverages remained in the red last year as it continued to recover from a key contract loss three years ago.

The company made a pre-tax loss of £4.67m in the year to 31 December 2013 compared with a loss of £6.51m in 2012, while sales edged up to £40.7m from £40m the year before.

Ian Bryson, Finlay Beverages MD, said the company had seen a stronger 2014, even though the overall black tea market continued to fall. It secured a new coffee and tea deal with The Cornish Tea Company and is growing fruit, herbal and speciality teas sales in the mults. It also branched out into premium own brand after buying the London Tea Company in 2012.

“We are heading in the direction [of profitability],” Bryson said. “We are ahead of the business plan and we are very comfortable about the direction Finlay Beverages is heading in.”

The company lost a key Sainsbury’s own-label tea contract in 2011, which led to a 25% drop in turnover in 2012..

In separate accounts, its parent company, Finlays, reported a pre-tax profit of £7.2m, against a loss of £2.4m in 2012. Sales fell 1.8% from £556m, to £547m.