UK food group Symington’s intends to expand its presence in Australia through the introduction of more of its brands into the market.

In filings with Companies House, the UK branded and own-label convenience food maker was upbeat on the prospects of its Australian business.

Symington’s ramped up its presence in Australia last year when it acquired the local licences to a number of Unilever’s Australian sauce brands, including Chicken Tonight and Five Brothers. The company said it expects to continue to build on this platform in the coming fiscal year.

“Our acquisition in Australia opens up a new channel for UK manufactured products and we have already successfully launched two of our brands into the growing Australian market with more expected to follow during the course of the new financial year,” Symington’s said.

Expanding in Australia will enable the group to mitigate some of the pricing pressure that it is witnessing in the UK where conditions continue to be “very challenging”.

In its financial report, Symington’s booked a drop in full-year profits despite “record” sales as investment in infrastructure weighed on the bottom line. Profit before interest, tax, depreciation and exceptional items in the year to February fell to GBP14.9m (US$24.7m), down from GBP16m in the prior year.

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By GlobalData

Symington’s said it has also responded to pricing pressure in the UK by raising its investment in its manufacturing base. During the period, the company completed integrating production of the Victoria and Goldenfry Home Baking acquisitions at its Bradford facility.

Symington’s added revenues rose 5% in the period to a “record” GBP148m.

Management said it would remain focused on driving manufacturing efficiencies and innovation as it negotiates what is expected to be a “difficult” market.