Hilton Food Group increases turnover but warns on 2011

Hilton Food Group, the European retail meat packing business, has warned the trading environment in 2011 will remain “challenging” – despite achieving turnover growth.

The Cambridgeshire-based group, which supplies major international food retailers Tesco, Ahold, Albert Heijn and ICA, said that trading was in line with expectations in the 28 weeks to 17 July.

In a trading statement, it said: “Despite challenging conditions in some markets, the company has delivered further turnover growth. Raw material prices throughout the period have been at higher levels than last year.”

Hilton Food Group has witnessed growth in Western Europe, which it said “has benefited from a strong performance in Sweden, where the economic recovery has continued”.

In Denmark, where a facility opened three months ahead of schedule, volumes have started to grow and it added that it was pleased with the resilience of business in Ireland, which was still suffering from the downturn.

It added that it had continued to grow the business in Central Europe, where it was “benefiting from the first full year of sales to Rimi in Estonia”.

Analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley at Shore Capital estimated that Hilton would record £952m in total sales in 2011 (as against £864m in 2010) and predicted earnings before interest and tax of £25.8m, up from £23.3m last year.

>> Hilton Food Group reports upbeat trading


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