Hilton Food Group, a specialist meat company operating in Europe and Australia, reported a more than one-quarter increase in operating profit this morning (13 September), benefiting from higher sales volumes. 

The company revealed that operating profit jumped 25.7% in the 28 weeks to 17 July, rising to GBP17.3m (US$23m). Hilton said it saw “strong growth” in underlying profitability, with constant currency operating profit rising 21.3%. Profit before tax rose 26.7% to GBP16.7m. 

Hilton said its performance was lifted by “encouraging” volumes, despite a “challenging” retail environment. Hilton pointed to higher UK volumes following the “bedding-in phase” for its capacity investments, growth in Ireland and “further progress” in Holland and central Europe.  Total tonnage increased 4.5%. Group sales were up 9.1% to GBP631.9m. 

Updating on its strategic initiatives, Hilton said the opening of its new facility in Melbourne, Australia, is on track while further progress has been made with its cooperation agreements with Sonae in Portugal and range extension into fresh pizzas in Sweden. 
“Despite challenging market conditions we are pleased to report good volume and profit growth with profitability benefiting from favourable exchange rate movements. We have made strategic progress particularly in terms of geographic expansion with the roll out in Australia and the early stages of a partnership with Sonae in Portugal,” CEO Robert Watson said. 

“We continue to grow our existing business through innovation and product development including the establishment of a meat trading business in the UK to utilise our industry experience, procurement strength and trade contacts together with the Swedish range extension into pizzas later in the year. We will continue with our strategy of furthering the geographic reach of the Hilton model exploring a range of new expansion opportunities”.