Hilton Food Group sees sterling drop benefit

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Hilton Food Group has expanded the range of products it makes for online retailer Ocado
Hilton Food Group has expanded the range of products it makes for online retailer Ocado

Related tags Republic of ireland Europe

UK-based meat packing business Hilton Food Group (Hilton) has reported solid financial growth for the year so far with currency fluctuations aiding progress.

In its trading update for the 28 weeks ended 16 July 2017, it reported that performance had been in line with the board’s expectations.

We have continued to grow the business, through additional volumes and close cooperation with our retail partners. The group has also benefited from the strength of the currencies in which it operates relative to sterling, which has offset the impact of start-up costs.​”

In its Western Europe businesses, the company reported good progress in a number of markets.

Turnover in the UK grew relative to last year, “reflecting higher raw material prices and some trading up, as well as a good start to the barbecue season​”.

Double-digit volume growth

Its Swedish and Irish business have experienced “encouraging top-line growth​” in the first half of the year.

In Sweden, Hilton launched a new packaging format to extend shelf-life, while in Ireland there has been a recovery in Republic of Ireland volumes, as well as an expansion of the Ocado product range serviced from Ireland.

Hilton did warn that Holland “remains a challenging market​”, although it is focusing on new product and packaging development, while the Danish market is reported to be more stable.

In Central Europe, where Hilton supplies customers in seven countries, its performance in the first half was adversely affected by new product start-up costs, as well as challenging market conditions.

The business’ Australian division saw double-digit volume growth from its joint venture covering Bunbury and Victoria, as well as the newly-opened Innovation Centre at the Victoria facility to support new product development. It reported that the development work in relation to the Queensland plant had continued in line with plans, with a site having been identified and planning permission progressing well.

The business in Portugal is reported to be showing good progress.

Looking ahead, the group reported that its “financial position remains strong​” and it continues to “explore opportunities to invest in and to grow the business in both domestic and overseas markets​”.

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