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Strong Interim Results From Hilton Food Group

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Strong Interim Results From Hilton Food Group

Strong Interim Results From Hilton Food Group
September 15
11:55 2010

UK-based Hilton Food Group, the leading specialist retail meat packing business supplying major international food retailers in Europe, has reported a strong underlying trading performance for the 28 weeks to July 18th 2010, with sales and profits up despite the difficult, pervading economic conditions across the continent.

Volumes grew overall by 11% and turnover increased by 5% to £449.9m, compared to the corresponding period the previous year. The turnover increase is below the level of volume gains, reflecting some reductions in average unit selling prices based on a decrease in raw material costs and product mix changes, together with the fact that the largest volume growth was achieved in Central Europe, where selling prices are much lower than in more mature European economies. The impact from currency translation was less than in previous years, accounting for only 1% of the turnover increase.

Robert Watson, chief executive of Hilton Food Group.

The operating profit margin was 2.7% (2.7% in the first 28 weeks of 2009) compared with 2.6% for the 53 weeks to January 3rd 2010. Operating profit for the first half of 2010, at £12.2m, was 5% ahead of the corresponding period in 2009. Operating profit benefited from the higher volumes, but was moderated by the effect of the lower raw material prices and product mix changes. Profit before taxation was £11.5m, reflecting the increase in operating profit and a reduction in finance charges.

“Despite the difficult and uncertain economic environment across Europe, our trading over the first 28 weeks of 2010 has been encouraging. We have continued to grow our business through new product initiatives, range extension and by achieving growth in developing markets, such as Central Europe, whilst our extensive and consistent capital investment over recent years has enabled us to continue supporting our customers’ growth in our longer established markets,” explains Robert Watson, chief executive of Hilton Food Group.

The new factory in Denmark is on schedule to start production in 2011 and the group is continuing to explore opportunities for further geographic expansion. Capital expenditure in the first half was £6.8m, including robotisation designed to enhance line speeds and throughputs and initial expenditure on equipment for the new facility in Denmark.

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