Hilton regaining ground in Ireland

Hilton regaining ground in Ireland

Hilton Food Group said that it was able to grow sales volumes in western Europe during the third quarter but conceded that value sales have been hit by lower raw material prices and currency exchange.

In its interim management statement for the period beginning 14 July, Hilton said its UK business has seen "encouraging" volume growth on the year and added that it is on-track to complete its capacity expansion project in the market in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. In Holland volumes were also up, while the Swedish market "remained steady".

The company also revealed that Irish sales have benefited from a recent pickup. According to analysts at Shore Capital this represents a "modest surprise".

"Despite the ongoing trend in market share data and Tesco's reported LFL decline, Hilton has seen a ‘recent pick-up' after a challenging H1," the analysts note.

Elsewhere, central Europe performed "in line" with expectations, while Australia saw "good progress".

Hilton stressed that its financial position is "strong" and confirmed that it "continues to explore opportunities" to grow the business in the UK and overseas.

Hilton is scheduled to issue a trading statement in early January. The company will release its full-year results on 25 March.

Shore Capital is forecasting full-year pre-tax profit of GBP24.9m (US$39.6m) and EPS of 24.5p, down 1% year-on-year. However the brokerage adds: "We forecast a return to strong growth in FY2015, looking for CPTP of £27.8m, EPS of 33.2p, with EPS up c11% yoy."

Show the press release

INTERIM MANAGEMENT STATEMENT
 
Hilton Food Group plc, the leading specialist international meat packing business, provides its Interim Management Statement for the period from 14th July 2014 to date.
 
Trading for the period across the Group's operations has been in line with the Board's expectations.  In Western Europe, we have delivered overall volume growth with turnover continuing to be adversely affected by the impact of both lower raw material prices and foreign exchange translation.  In the UK, we expect to complete the site development work to increase capacity this year and the commisioning of all new equipment by the end of Q1/2015; in the meantime we have seen encouraging volume growth relative to last year. In Holland, our business continues to perform well, delivering further volume growth. We have also seen a recent pickup in the Irish business performance, following a challenging first half, whilst in Sweden progress has remained steady. Denmark's turnover has remained below last year's, primarily due to lower raw material prices. In Central Europe, trading has been in line with our expectations, with continued growth in Poland.
 
Hilton's joint venture in Australia is making good progress. As noted at the Half Year, the Bunbury conversion is complete and is performing well, with the Victoria plant on schedule to open in Q3/2015.
 
The Group's financial position remains strong with net debt growing in line with expectations as the investment projects in UK and Sweden are being executed. Hilton continues to explore opportunities to grow the business in both domestic and overseas markets.
 
The Group expects to issue a pre-close trading statement on 9th January 2015 and to announce its preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 28th December 2014 on 25th March 2015.

Original source: Hilton Food Group