Meat-packing firm Hilton Food group has posted “solid” growth in the UK and Ireland, according to city analysts, ahead of the firm’s first quarter financial results due on March 29.
Experts praised the firm’s performance in the UK and Ireland, which was achieved despite the “challenging conditions”.
Graham Jones, an analyst Panmure Gordon said: “Despite continued challenging trading conditions in some key markets, we expect Hilton to have delivered another year of good progression.
“We expect earnings per share (EPS) to have risen by 70% in five years from the base 2006 EPS number on which Hilton floated in May 2007. We forecast another good year of EPS progression in 2012E, with a forecast of 14.5% growth to 27.9p.”
Jones confirmed a strong all-round performance in the western Europe region, with particularly strong sales being shown in the Swedish and Dutch markets.
But the installation of a new robotic store picking facility in Denmark had slightly dented profit at the firm, Jones revealed.
“We forecast 9.5% sales growth in 2011 to £945.9M and, with earnings before interest tax and amortisation (EBITA) margins broadly flat at 2.7%, we expect EBITA to rise by 9.8% to £25.6M,” he said.
“With interest costs slightly higher due to the investment in Denmark, we expect slightly lower Profit before tax growth of 8.5% to £24.1M.”