Blackwood-based Bon Bon Buddies, Europe’s premier manufacturer of character and branded confectionery, has been named as the only Welsh finalist in the Private Business of the Year category of the national UK Private Business Awards 2017.

Bon Bon Buddies was selected as a finalist among hundreds of nominees after being put forward for the category award by PricewaterhouseCoopers, sponsors of the awards, for its exceptional performance in the 2015-16 financial year, during which the confectioner demonstrated a combination of impressive business traits including a strong market position and economic growth.

The Welsh confectioner, which produces and distributes a mixture of licensed and own-brand products to more than 40 countries worldwide, ended its 2015-16 financial year on a record-breaking high with a healthy 13 per cent increase in turnover to £44.4m and a 125 per cent increase in profit before taxation to £2.04m in its year ending April 30.

In the same year, the business achieved its five-year goal to make year-round sales, as opposed to seasonal sales, account for 60 per cent of the business’s revenue.

Justin Thomas, managing director of Bon Bon Buddies, said: “Our 2015-16 financial results were the best the company has ever had in its 25-year history and we’re thrilled to be nominated for such a prestigious award in recognition of this.

“It’s always a challenge to make a change, but our hard work and efforts over the past few years to alter the way we operate on a global scale – from introducing new distribution models in the Nordics and Germany, opening our first Asia office in Hong Kong and securing significant deals with global brands like Universal, Disney and Cloetta - has opened doors to markets we’ve never experienced before and has allowed us to grow our international footprint.”

Finalists of the Private Business of the Year Award were also selected based on their strong long-term strategy, outlook and vision.

Bon Bon Buddies also owes its recent financial success to an internal business culture transformation after the firm implemented an 18-month long employee engagement and development programme aimed at increasing synergy, performance and empowering staff to work together to achieve the business’s goals.

Mr Thomas said: “Financial figures are important but it’s vital that you have a healthy growth strategy to foster company growth. We’re an ambitious company: we’re always thinking on our toes and working out what we could have done better so that we can excel in the next opportunity.

“But we also knew that we needed a cultural change to help drive our ambitious growth strategy. That’s why we introduced our employee development programme and made it our goal to create a fun and exciting working environment which would encourage our teams to adopt our new mantra of ‘doing everything a little better each time’. We owe much of our success to our talented teams across Europe who work incredibly hard to help us achieve our business goals. Without them, we wouldn’t have experienced our success to date.

“It’s an honour to be selected as a finalist among hundreds of nominees and we’re looking forward to attending the awards ceremony later this month.”

The winners of the annual UK Private Business Awards 2017 will be announced on September 14.