Hilton plots further expansion after trading update

By Noli Dinkovski contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hilton said its peformance had been particularly strong in the UK and Ireland
Hilton said its peformance had been particularly strong in the UK and Ireland
Meat producer Hilton Food Group has claimed it is well-placed for further expansion after its trading update revealed its annual results would be in-line with expectations.

The group said the figures – for the year ended December 31 2017 – reflected growth in a number of existing and new markets, as well as the positive impact of foreign currency translation.

It intended to publish its full-year results on March 28 2018, following the release of the trading statement yesterday (January 11).

Last November, Hilton completed the acquisition of Icelandic Group UK (‘Seachill’) for £80.8M.

This was funded partly from the proceeds of a placing of new ordinary shares, which raised £55.9M and partly through debt financing.

In August, it unveiled plans to build a £5.5M (€6M) factory in Poland, after signing a five-year supply deal with Tesco to provide the supermarket with fresh food.

Sandwiches, pizzas, soups and ready meals

The factory will produce sandwiches, pizzas, soups and ready meals, with manufacturing scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2019.

Hilton has also agreed to continue supplying Tesco’s central European stores with pre-packed meat in a five-year supply deal.

In this week’s trading update, Hilton said it had continued to grow the business, with higher turnover particularly in the UK and Ireland.

It said it was “pleased with the progress” ​market intelligence provider Foods Connected had made, along with trading subsidiary Hilton Food Solutions.

Hilton acquired a 50% stake in the UK-based Foods Connected last May, in an attempt to help it become more efficient and reduce costs. The group said additional customers had since signed up to its information and commercial support platform.

In both Sweden and Denmark, the trading statement reported that sales were “slightly up”​, with strong Christmas fresh pizza sales in Sweden.

Sales lower in the Netherlands

Although sales were lower in the Netherlands, reflecting consumer demand, Hilton said it had continued to perform well in the country.

In central Europe, the group claimed performance improved in the second half in-line with expectations, as it continued to adapt its business model to the local environment.

SOHI Meat Solutions, Hilton’s joint venture company in Portugal, continued to demonstrate progress in conjunction with Sonae, the group’s joint-venture partner.

Hilton said its joint venture in Australia had also progressed well, with the Victoria plant delivering year-on-year growth. Development work for the new Queensland facility had continued in line with plan, with construction having commenced.

Overall, it claimed its trading outlook remained positive, with growth prospects underpinned by the expansion plans announced in the 12 months covering Australia, Portugal, central Europe and New Zealand, as well as further opportunities arising from the Seachill acquisition.

“The group’s financial position is strong, positioning us well for further expansion,”​ said the company.

“Hilton remains well-placed to deliver continued growth over the medium term enhanced by further opportunities to develop our cross category business in both domestic and overseas markets,”​ it added.

Related topics: World News, Manufacturing, Meat & poultry, IT

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