Hilton reports resilient growth

Leading meat packer Hilton Food Group has announced a resilient performance in its interim results, with good results across operations in Western and central Europe in spite of continued challenges to consumer spending.

Profits before tax were up to £12.6m, a growth of 8.8% compared to the same period last year, while turnover rose by 10% to £496.2m for the 28 weeks to 17 July 2011. The company said this reflected the recovery of higher raw material costs, as well as a favourable impact from currency translation, which accounted for 2% of the turnover increase. Volumes grew overall by under 3%, despite the impact of higher raw material meat prices and continuing downward pressure on consumer spending, with operating profit margins of 2.7%, unchanged from that in the first 28 weeks of 2010.

The rising operations profit enabled the group to finance investment in Denmark, while undertaking continuing investment to modernise equipment and improve efficiency across five other production facilities.

Robert Watson, chief executive of Hilton Food Group said: “In these difficult times, Hilton continued to benefit from its geographically diversified business model. Despite the economic environment across Europe and rising raw material meat prices, trading over the first 28 weeks of 2011 has been strong. We have achieved further growth in turnover and profits, while continuing to actively support our customers’ growth in very competitive markets”.

The Cambridgeshire-based group, which supplies major international food retailers Tesco, Ahold, Albert Heijn and ICA, said that 76% of the company’s revenue was earned outside the UK. Volume growth in Western Europe rose by 2.3%. with turnover growth up 10.8%. The new Coop Danmark facility was building volume, while the new packaging range launched in the Netherlands was performing well.

Business in Central Europe has expanded rapidly, with overall volume growth of just under 5%, and turnover growth of 5.3%. The company said that recent capital expenditure, including new robotics at warehouse facilities, left it in a good position to manage growth in the region, despite very competitive markets

>Hilton Food Group increase turnover by warns on 2011

>Hilton Food Group reports upbeat trading


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