International operations drive volume growth for Hilton Foods

Meat packing firm Hilton Foods has reported an impressive performance in the 28 weeks to 16 July 2017 thanks to its international operations. 

For the time period, volumes increased by 8.7%. This was attributed to growth in Ireland, Sweden and Australia, coupled with the start of Hilton’s Sohi Meat Solutions joint venture with Portuguese retailer Sonae Modelo Continente.

Turnover reached £690.7 million (m), an increase of 9.3% on last year when turnover was £631.9m, and by 3.2% on a constant currency basis. Operating profit for the firm was 9% higher, and came in at £18.8m.

“Hilton delivered strong volume growth during the period,” commented the firm’s chief executive Robert Watson.

“Our strategic progress continues with entry into Portugal and expansion recently announced in Central Europe where beef deboning has commenced and a fresh food factory will be developed. The initial work on our new factory in Queensland, Australia continues, with the planning approvals process well advanced. We remain committed to growing our business through innovation and product development as well as exploring a range of new expansion opportunities to further our geographic reach.”

In Western Europe, turnover increased by 4.1% to reach £643.6 million (m) on a constant currency basis, while operating profit was £20m, up from £18.1m.

Meanwhile, in Central Europe, the business was challenged by a highly competitive and price-sensitive landscape. As a result, volumes fell by 20.6% compared to last year, with turnover down 7.9% on a constant currency basis.

Over in Australia, Hilton operates a joint venture with Woolworths. The arrangement sees the company receive a 50% share of the agreed fees charged by the joint venture company for operating certain Woolworths’ meat processing and packing plants, based on the volume of retail packed meat delivered in Woolworths’ stores. Hilton is also working on a new factory in Queensland, Australia.

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