Frozen food giant Iglo Group has booked an increase in full-year profits, boosted by group innovation and poultry sales in Continental Europe.

In a trading update today (23 April), the company, owned by private-equity firm Permira, said it achieved EBITDA growth of 7% in 2011, to reach EUR325.8m (US$523.9m).

Total net sales grew 1.4% to EUR1.57bn, driven by new products, including Iglo’s Rice Fusions range, and poultry sales in Continental Europe. All three businesses reported branded net sales growth, led by Findus in Italy with 3.3%, Iglo with 2.1% and Birds Eye at 1.2%.

Iglo said 2011 was the group’s fifth consecutive year of core category sales and EBITDA growth, as well as gross margin expansion.

“2011 was our best year yet,” said chief executive Martin Glenn. “The acquisition of Findus in Italy has been transformational and I am proud of the management team’s ability to integrate a large scale business. We are Europe’s leading pure-play branded frozen food business, with all three businesses delivering net sales growth.”

Last month, Permira asked Credit Suisse to prepare a sales and marketing document in preparation for a potential sale of Iglo Group. Permira began looking into the possibility of a sale after it was contacted by “interested parties”, a source familiar with the situation told just-food. 

Iglo, which manufactures the Birds Eye brand, was formed when Permira purchased Iglo for EUR1.7bn (US$2.25bn) from Unilever in 2006 and then combined it with Findus Italy, which it bought for EUR800m, in 2010. 

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