CAKES featuring the likes of One Direction, Spiderman and Moshi Monsters have helped Finsbury Food Group report a 50% rise in half-year profits.

The company posted turnover of £86.6 million in the 26 weeks to December 28 last year which was 1.8% behind the £88.2m booked in the prior year. Within that the UK operations netted £75.4m, compared to £77m in 2012, with overseas sales flat at around £11.2m.

But financing expenses were effectively halved to £512,000 while the cost of sales fell from £66.5m to £64.4m. That helped pre-tax profits increase from £1.4m to almost £2.1m.

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Along with the popular boyband and comic characters Finsbury said the recently introduced Me to You range of cakes, featuring a family of bear characters, had also done well.

Finsbury, which has its registered office in Cardiff but employs more than 1100 Scots at facilities in Hamilton and Twechar, East Dunbartonshire, makes cakes under licence for brands including Disney, Marvel, Weight Watchers and Thorntons.

The Nicholas & Harris bread making subsidiary has seen early success with a low carbohydrate loaf and an expanded bread making facility in Salisbury was commissioned in January this year.

John Duffy, chief executive, said: "Whilst the trading environment remains tough in the short term, our low level of debt and interest costs allow us to make significant investment in our factories and businesses for the future.

"We believe that although the consumer markets remain challenging, an improvement in consumer behaviour lies ahead."