The company became part of Unilever in February after a deal worth £150m

Healthy snacking brand Graze has swung to a loss in the year of its sale to Unilever.

The UK-based brand, which grew as a DTC business before winning retail listings across the mults, reported pre-tax losses of £1.2m for the 12 months ended 28 February 2019, compared to profits of £2.9m the prior year.

Operationally, losses for Nature Delivered – Graze’s UK operational company – amounted to £2.4m versus a £1.4m profit in 2018.

The slump was mainly due to one-off costs related to the company’s sale to Unilever, completed at the beginning of February in a deal worth £150m – well below the £300m Graze’s previous owner Carlyle was initially seeking.

Sales, meanwhile, rose 5.9% in the year to £55.9m.

Graze CEO Anthony Fletcher described the period following the sale to Unilever as a “transformational and exciting” moment for the business.

“We delivered solid results in line with our expectations, achieving good growth in revenue and profit before costs, increased retail sales value and reinforced our position as the UK’s number one recognised healthy snacking brand,” he added.

“We also delivered a number of key initiatives by increasing the proportion of our packaging that is 100% recyclable and significantly reducing the sugar content of Graze products.”

An example of this is Graze’s revamped lemon flapjack, containing 50% less sugar than the average cereal bar, and its range of low-calorie snack bars.

Graze’s global holding company – ND4A – reported revenues rising 2% to £73.3m due to a 6.8% increase in retail sales value, both in the UK and US, to £94m.

Pre-tax losses increased to £5.8m from £4.3m, also affected by acquisition costs.