The scale of the turnaround required at Fox’s Glacier Mints producer Big Bear Confectionery has been revealed by accounts showing the business lost £2.6m in the 15-month period in which it was bought by Valeo Foods.

The Irish food group acquired Big Bear in December 2017, towards the end of its 15 months to 31 March accounting period in which it fell to a pre-tax loss of £2.6m from a pre-tax profit of £2m in the previous financial year.

Sales at the former Raisio-owned company were up to £52.7m from £45.3m in the previous 12-month period, but escalating costs meant gross profit margins were slashed from 18.1% to 12.1%.

The accounts stated the current year ‘will continue to be challenging for all food businesses’ but Big Bear is ‘well positioned to adjust to market conditions’.

A Valeo spokesman said it was aware of the trading challenges facing Big Bear when it acquired the company, but it continued to see significant growth opportunities.

He added that Valeo was in the process of pursuing a turnaround and growth plan for Big Bear, which is “progressing well” and its performance since it was acquired is in line with management expectations.

Capvest-owned Valeo completed a £100m-plus acquisition of Sherbert Fountain maker Tangerine Confectionery in August 2018.

At the time sources close to the deal told The Grocer that Valeo plans for its two confectionery businesses to work closely together.

Fellow Valeo-owned brand Rowse Honey has also posted its accounts after a further year of growth.

Rowse grew sales back to £134.8m in year to 31 March 2018 after dipping to £122.8m in the previous year and posted a rise in pre-tax profits to £24.7m from £20.5m in the previous financial year.