In the three months to 31 December 2018, revenue dropped 2% year-on-year due to lower sales in pork categories. This dip was lessened by growing sales in poultry and continental products over the period. Its net debt also increased during the quarter and ended the period in line with the same period of the previous year.
It reported that the construction of its new poultry processing facility in Eye, Suffolk, is continuing to plan, with the exterior building works nearing completion and commissioning anticipated towards the end of the next financial year.
Morrisons supply agreement
During the period, the group agreed a long-term supply agreement with Morrisons to supply fresh poultry from its Eye facility and a range of cooked poultry products from its added-value poultry facility in Hull when it is completed.
The business expects a declining operating margin for the rest of the year, citing a “challenging commercial landscape”, as well as start-up and commissioning costs associated with the new Eye facility, only partly offset by management actions. However it believes that this investment will lead to further growth in the poultry category.
It said: “Notwithstanding these short-term challenges, our new Eye and existing added value, poultry facilities and our broadening customer base, provide a solid platform to further develop our poultry business and drive future growth in this attractive and expanding protein category.”