UK chilled foods supplier Bakkavor saw its earnings soar in the first half, boosted by the disposal of its French and Spanish businesses.

Earnings for the six months ended 29 June jumped to GBP19.7m (US$30.7m), a 25% increase on the prior year period. The figure included a gain of GBP14.5m from the sale of Bakkavor’s French and Spanish businesses – Cinquieme Saison Saint-Pol, Cinquieme Saison Macon, Bakkavor France, Crudi and Sogeso – in April.

Nevertheless, operating profit in the period soared 58.5% in the period to GBP44.7m, while sales were up 4% to GBP725.1m. Like-for-like sales grew 5%, driven by business wins and “strong” seasonal product launches.

CEO Agust Gudmundsson said trading conditions remain “challenging” due to inflationary headwinds, a competitive retail environment and ongoing pressures on household budgets. However, he said the company remains “confident” in its strategy and its position in the chilled convenience

“We remain focused on our priorities of targeted capital investments, close partnering with our customers, technical excellence and outstanding product development.”

Click here to view the full earnings release.