Sports nutrition player Grenade continued its stellar sales growth last year, although profits fell back a fifth as it invested in growth.

The healthy snack bars, shakes and spreads maker posted sales growth of 37.4% in 2019, taking revenues from £37.6m to £51.7m.

The brand, which is owned by private equity player Lion Capital, grew share in the UK, while continuing to grow internationally. Its UK sales were up 41.1% to £38.4m, while international sales were up 27.6% to £13.2m.

However, pre-tax profits fell back almost 20% from £6.1m to £4.9m due to “significant investment” in working capital, headcount and brand building.

Profits were also hit by a bad debt provision of £344k relating to a non-UK customer, with legal action being pursued.

The Grocer reported that Lion Capital hired US investment bank Harris Williams to handle a potential sales process in August last year.

However, it is understood this process was placed on pause earlier in 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak scuppered deal making activity.

The accounts state that the outbreak is “clearly concerning” for the Grenade business and will have an “adverse impact” on business performance due to the lessening of consumption of food on the go.

Grenade said at this stage that impact “is not yet clear or quantifiable”.