Uniq has posted a 31% jump in profit driven by strong growth at its sandwiches, salads and desserts businesses in the UK as it continues to refocus on own brand chilled convenience foods.

For the year to March 31 pre-tax profit was up to £26.3m from £20.1m in 2002, on sales of £987.6m compared to £1.38bn, of which continuing business accounted for £899m up from £864.5m last year.

As part of its strategy to dispose of non-core operations such as its branded spreads to Dairy Crest and yogurts to Danone, Uniq said it would not be renewing it deal with Cadbury’s to produce desserts when the contract expires in March 2004.

CEO Bill Ronald said: “Going forward I am now confident that we have the appropriate financial and management resources in place to identify further synergies, deliver innovation and stimulate faster revenue growth.”

The company noted that its year-end debt has been cut by £143m to £42m.