Snacktime (LON:SNAK) , the group that operates snack and chilled drink vending machines across the UK, has sounded an upbeat assessment of its prospects for the rest of the year and remains on course to deliver a pre-tax profit in line with market expectations. In an update for the year to march 31, 2010, the company said it had weathered challenging market conditions and was in active discussions over a number of potential acquisition opportunities.

In September 2009 the group acquired MBM Business Systems and its Snack in The Box franchise network for £1.5m, which has now been successfully integrated. That deal was followed in December by a £5.8m share placing priced at 170p per share. Today the company’s share price was flat at 163.5p, although its shares a relatively tightly held, with a free float of just 15%. The new cash allowed SnackTime to repay £1m of bank debt as well as pour resources into its sales and marketing activities and speed up its plans for organic and acquisitive growth. Its sales and marketing teams have since increased in size from two people to the current team of fifteen.

Looking ahead, the group’s operated and franchise divisions are anticipating continued strong growth in the current financial year. It recently secured its first major public sector contract with Northamptonshire court services for the siting and operation of high quality hot drink machines.

Blair Jenkins, SnackTime’s chief executive, said: “Following the placing in December, SnackTime has made substantial investment in the second half of last year in its sales and marketing activities and its general infrastructure. The company is therefore confident that it will continue to win significant new business in both the public and private sectors because of its unique vending proposition which continues to be preferred by customers to traditional vending solutions. In addition, SnackTime is confident that selected acquisitions will add to SnackTime's market presence and growth in 2010.”

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