Swiss meat processing company Bell Group indicated today (15 February) it expects to see a "moderate" rise in revenue over the coming 12 months, as it booked a mixed set of results for 2011.

Bell said sales slid 3.8% to CHF2.52bn (US$2.74bn) in 2011. However, the company emphasised that when the impact of discontinued businesses and currency translation were stripped out, sales actually rose by 1.8% in the period, while sales volumes were up 1.9%.

The company said that it had "further strengthened" its position as "market leader" in its domestic market, with growth driven by higher demand for added-value products.

However, despite a 5.7% increase in sales in Europe, Bell revealed that profits at its international business had been hit by the "sharp increase" in prices for raw materials in the EU, which could "only partly and with some delay be passed on to customers".

Annual profit excluding consolidation and one-off costs increased by 11% to CHF71.6m, Bell said. However, EBITDA dropped 4% to CHF204.2m.

Looking to fiscal 2012, Bell said that it expects "moderate" sales growth in Europe and Switzerland. The company revealed that it is eyeing market share gains as it presses ahead with plans to focus on value-added products and restructure its product ranges.

Bell added that it is also exploring ways to improve margins, with the focus primarily on procurement, international sales, logistics and administrative services.

Nevertheless, the company struck a note of warning on raw materials costs: "Raw materials prices are likely to remain high in Europe. Bell can compensate for some of the additional costs with productivity improvements. Earnings trends will continue to depend on how quickly changes in raw materials prices can be passed on to the market," the company said.

Click here for the full announcement from Bell Group.