UK fresh prepared foods and produce company Geest has said its results for the last year are in line with expectations.

In a trading update for the year to 3 January 2004, Geest said group sales are expected to show growth of around 12%, while UK sales of fresh prepared foods are expected to show growth of about 6%.

“This rate of growth reflects some business losses earlier in the year – since offset by other business gains – and our commitment to pursue business selectively in the current trading environment,” the company said.

Continental European sales are expected to have grown by about 58%, helped by the successful acquisition of Crudi in France in April 2003. The remaining business, whole head produce, is expected to show sales growth of around 20% with continued volume growth and some higher prices.

“Trading conditions throughout 2003 were challenging with increasing input prices and customer pressure for better value. However, we are achieving price increases and, with total operating profit in line with our expectations, we will again demonstrate strong cash flow generation,” Geest said.

The company said it had initiated programmes aimed at further improving levels of productivity and the cost efficiency of its supply chain.