July 3, 2014 / 7:50 AM / 3 years ago

Chocolatier Thorntons says full-year profit to meet estimates

July 3 (Reuters) - British chocolate maker Thorntons Plc expects full-year pretax profit to rise about 51 percent, in line with market expectations, and said its UK commercial channel returned to double-digit percentage revenue growth in the fourth quarter.

The company expects pretax profit before exceptional items to rise to 7.1 million pounds ($11.9 million) for the year ended June 28 from 4.7 million pounds a year earlier.

Derbyshire-based Thorntons also said it had secured support of its existing lenders who agreed in principle to provide an increased unsecured committed revolving credit facility of 75 million pounds, running through October 2018.

“This increased facility will provide headroom for the increased working capital requirements associated with serving third-party retailers,” Investec analyst Nicola Mallard said in a note.

Thorntons reported a 7.6 percent drop in the third-quarter sales, hurt by early spring deliveries in the second quarter and lower UK commercial sales.

Consumer sentiment remained subdued in the wake of sluggish wage growth and a pick-up in inflation, prompting Thorntons to close some of its stores in the third quarter and focus on online business.

Thorntons shares were up 2.6 percent at 109.75 pence in morning trade on the London Stock Exchange. ($1 = 0.5956 British Pounds) (Reporting by Aastha Agnihotri in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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