Ferrero has returned to profit in the UK.

The Italian confectioner reported an operating profit of £733,000 for the year to 31 August 2011, having recorded an operating loss of £179,000 in 2010, according to accounts posted at Companies House.

The return to operating profitability came thanks to a 6.2% leap in turnover to £169m over the period.

“We had a very successful 2011 - we are therefore well placed to exploit the popularity of our brands to grow category value and profit,” said Ferrero UK sales director Jason Richards.

The company invested heavily in brand marketing last year. In January 2011, it launched a £14m campaign for Kinder Surprise, which included the first TV ad for the brand in seven years. And in the month before Christmas, heavyweight TV advertising meant Ferrero Rocher was second only to Coca-Cola in terms of total food and drink media spend [Nielsen 4w/e 25 December 2011].

Ferrero, which appointed Nutella brand president Pieraldo Oldano as UK and Ireland managing director in January, announced last year its intention to double the size of the UK business over the next five years.

The Italian confectioner currently has a 3% share of the British chocolate confectionery sales, whereas in its domestic market it has a 45% share. “We have a clear, successful model in Europe and are looking to replicate this in the UK and Ireland,” said Richards.

NPD and strong marketing support are central to the growth plans.