Nomad Foods is raising its annual profit guidance after the UK-based frozen food manufacturer reported a ”strong” start to the year.

The Birds Eye brand owner posted a fifth consecutive quarter of positive organic growth (2.9%) in the three months through 31 March, driven by increases in volumes, product mix and prices. That result is only just below the 3.9% print reported for the whole of last year and would suggest Nomad is on target to meet its forecast for organic sales growth in the ”low, single-digit” range in 2018

First-quarter revenue rose 1.5% to EUR539m (US$640.7m), while adjusted EBITDA climbed 16% to EUR103m, the company said in an earnings statement today (10 May).

As a result, adjusted EBITDA is now expected to come in at the high end of the previously-announced EUR355-360m range. And following a 40% first-quarter surge in adjusted earnings per share to EUR0.35, that metric is predicted at EUR1.10 to EUR1.13.

Bottom-line profits after tax climbed 37% to EUR62m. 

Chief executive Stefan Descheemaeker said: “2018 is off to a strong start highlighted by first-quarter organic revenue growth of 2.9% and adjusted EPS growth of 40%. These results, which reinforce the sustainability of our growth model, are attributable to the team’s focus and execution towards our goals of driving frozen food category growth and increasing our market share.”

Nomad made no mention of any impact on its results from its acquisition in January of a line of frozen pizza assets from the UK’s Boparan Holdings, including the Goodfella’s and San Marco brands.

Descheemaeker said in March a priority this year will be to integrate the Goodfella’s brands into its operations in the UK and Ireland, and reiterated the acquisition is expected to be accretive to between EUR22m and EUR25m of annual adjusted EBITDA within two years of the closing of the deal, or by the first half of 2020.

Commenting on the latest results, co-chairman and founder Noam Gottesman said: “It is a good time to be in the frozen food business. The category is growing across western Europe and, in many cases, is out-pacing other packaged food categories. Our strong first-quarter performance and plans for the remainder of 2018 put us on track to deliver another year of impressive financial results.”