In its report, Hilton said H1 profits after tax were £9.6m, up just 0.4% on the same period last year.
Hilton Food Group chief executive Robert Watson explained he was pleased to report a steady performance over the first 28 weeks of this year, despite the hard economy. He said: “We have achieved further growth in volumes and turnover, while continuing to actively support our customers’ growth in very competitive markets.”
According to the report, underlying trade remained positive with a 10.3% increase in volume of sales. A rise of 9.4% in turnover to £543m, compared with £496.2m in the same period last year, was also noted and has been accredited to higher meat prices.
An operating profit margin of 2.4% compared to 2.7% on the last year reflects a continuation of consumer down-trading in the challenging economical climate. However, if the impact of the difficult exchange rate was included, the operating profit margin for H1 would have been 2.5%.
Key business risks were also highlighted in the report, the most significant being the fact that the success of the company is dependent on a small number of customers who have a lot of buying power. The potential of growth for the group is also down to the success of its customers and the growth of their packed meat sales. Also, the delicate balance of disease outbreak, feed contamination and how the media portrays these has an effect on group sales.
Since last year, Hilton has also managed to reduce its overall debt by around half from £24.8m in 2011 to £14.9m this year, which it said was down to strong cash generation.