Growth propels Hilton Food Group past expectations

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Hilton Food Group's bullish announcement follows years of net profit growth
Hilton Food Group's bullish announcement follows years of net profit growth

Related tags: Hilton food group, Beef, Lamb, Pork

UK-based meat processor Hilton Food Group has traded “slightly” above the board of directors’ expectations as trading for the full-year to 1 January 2017 defied economic forecasts.

The meat processor has expanded rampantly in 2016 and preliminary financial results, seen only by Hilton Food Group, suggested an air of early optimism was building inside a business that has posted profit growth for five years in a row.

A trading bulletin, posted today (12 January) stated growth in a number of markets, combined with positive foreign currency fluctuations had lifted performance “ahead of the board’s expectations​”.

Western Europe, particularly the UK and Ireland, enjoyed a positive quarter. Meat sales in Sweden and the Netherlands were both slightly up on expectations, but the trend was bucked in Denmark, with sales falling short of Hilton Food Group’s forecast.

Palpable positivity

A 50/50 joint venture with Portuguese retailer Sonae Modelo Continente​, confirmed on 4 January 2017, has also boosted the mood inside the company.

Funds of at least €22m (£19m) have already been set aside to develop packaging and sourcing facilities at Sonae Modelo Continente’s subsidiary Sonae Centro Processamento Carnes. This commitment has underpinned Hilton Food Group’s rising growth prospects outside the UK.

A joint venture in Australia has also made “good progress​” as Hilton Food Group’​s recently expanded Victoria meat processing plant delivered year-on-year growth. Planning is now underway to build a production facility in Queensland, Australia, to supply value-added beef, lamb and pork to major retailer Woolworths. Hilton Food Group estimated this to cost AU$115m (£70m).

Other operational highlights included the start-up of a pizza business in Poland and Sweden, alongside steady success with Hilton​ Food Solutions. In light of a number of positive singles from Hilton Food Group’s operations across Europe and Asia-Pacific, the business said its financial position was “strong​” and put them on track to “deliver continued growth​”.

Full-year trading figures for the 52 weeks up to 1 January 2017 will be published on 30 March.

Related topics: Meat

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