Hilton sees pre-tax profits rise despite ‘challenging’ trade

Pre-tax profits are up at Hilton Food Group despite “challenging market conditions”, the meat processor has announced.

Hilton has released its financial results for the 52 weeks ending 31 December 2014, showing pre-tax profits have increased 1.1% on last year, to £25.2 million.

Volume sales were also up 3.5% to 231,504 tonnes.

However, revenue was down 2.3% compared with 2013.

Fiona Cincotta, a senior market analyst at www.finspreads.com, said: “Hilton Food Group has reported a 2.3% fall in sales to £1.1bn, due to lower meat prices and unfavourable currency exchange rates, which are affecting company results across the board this earning season. Despite the dip in revenues the group also announced an increase in pre-tax profit of 1.3% to the tune of £25.2m,” she said.

During 2014, Hilton invested £43.3m in its facilities in the UK, Sweden and Australia, compared with £18.4m in 2013, which chief executive Robert Watson said “was essential to facilitate the group’s planned future growth”.

Commenting on the more positive results, Cincotta added: “The results are solid, but nothing for the market to get over-excited about. However, they were in line with expectations and are a strong base with which the group can spring forward in 2015.

“Going forward, the potential for the group is strong, with benefits yet to come from investments in the UK and Swedish factories, the possibility of entering new markets and improving fortunes at Tesco, the group’s key client.”

Watson concluded: “We will continue to seek out available opportunities to progressively and profitably expand the scale and scope of our operations, employing a business model that remains resilient, relevant and internationally transferable.”

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