UK-based convenience food group Uniq has said its first-half results, which were impacted by prior year UK business losses, were in line with expectations.

The company said profit before tax, exceptional items and goodwill amortisation fell to £10.7m (US$19.8m) for the 26 weeks to 25 September 2004, compared to £11.4m a year earlier. The company also reported a loss on ordinary activities before tax of £14.2m, compared to a profit of £6.0m in the year-ago period. Turnover slid to £424.4m from £470.9m a year earlier. Exceptional costs related mostly to the group's supply chain project which it said is on target to deliver annualised cost savings of £17m by 2006/07.

Uniq, whose products include ready meals, salads and sandwiches, said its business in Southern Europe continued to perform strongly with operating profits up 17%. It also said it had achieved £20m of annualised new UK business wins mostly with Tesco and Morrisons.

"Our new UK and Northern European management teams have had a number of successes which underpin the performance of these businesses. The team in Southern Europe has delivered another excellent performance. I am confident that the actions we are taking both in the UK and across our business to focus on our chosen categories will provide the basis for a strong recovery in our performance over the next 18 months," said chief executive Bill Ronald.