Bakkavör reported like-for-like sales growth of 3%.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached £55M, up by 5% on the same period of last year.
Revenue was 2% down at £846.4M in the first half of 2012. Profit after tax was £4M for the second quarter of this year, compared with a loss after tax of £0.1M for the same period of 2011.
Wild told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Bakkavör runs a tight ship and is well regarded by its major retail customers. It has had a lot of support from them.
“It has done many of the right things since the Icelandic crisis. It has refinanced and taken a lot of cost out of the business by closing factories. And it is not easy to sell operations in the private-label sector in which it operates.”
Lack of innovation
Bakkavör was right to focus on innovation, he added. “One of the problems of the chilled product sector has been the lack of innovation compared with 10 to 15 years ago.”
In the financial statement accompanying the results, the firm renewed its commitment to more product launches. “Moving into the third quarter, we continue to build on these successes with further business wins and product launches, including a complete range of ready meals under licence for Carluccio’s, a well-known Italian restaurant and retailer.”
Agust Gudmundsson, ceo, said: “The first half of 2012 has seen us continue to achieve good growth with like-for-like sales contributing to an additional £2.6M of Adjusted EBITDA year-on-year.
“Against a difficult market backdrop we have continued to focus on product innovation and our relationships with key customers, helping us to maintain leading positions in our chosen categories.”
The firm claimed to have launched 300 new and improved products in May alone. The launches included an ethnic food range for Tesco and further lines under the New York Soup Company Label.
New lines were introduced to its premium salad ranges, with a particular emphasis on unusual leaf options and mineral-enriched product offerings.
It also launched fresh cut-fruit lines designed for the convenience market – “the fastest-growing division within the chilled food sector”, it said.
While remaining cautious about the economic climate in the coming months, Bakkavör said it would “remain focused on key customers and continuing to deliver the highest-quality products”.
Wild highlighted the competition the Icelandic firm faced. “The chilled food market – competing against 2 Sisters, Greencore and Samworth Brothers – is a tough place to be. But it is doing a decent job,” he concluded.