In the 28 weeks to 16 July 2017, volumes increased by 8.7%. This was attributed to growth in Ireland, Sweden and Australia, coupled with the start of Hilton’s Sohi Meat Solutions joint venture with Portuguese retailer Sonae Modelo Continente.
Turnover for the business hit £690.7 million (m), an increase of 9.3% on last year when turnover was £631.9m, and by 3.2% on a constant currency basis. Operating profit for the firm was 9% higher, and came in at £18.8m.
Robert Watson, chief executive, said:
“Our strategic progress continues with entry into Portugal and expansion recently announced in Central Europe where beef deboning has commenced and a fresh food factory will be developed.
“The initial work on our new factory in Queensland, Australia continues, with the planning approvals process well advanced. We remain committed to growing our business through innovation and product development as well as exploring a range of new expansion opportunities to further our geographic reach.”
In Western Europe, turnover increased by 4.1% to reach £643.6 million (m) on a constant currency basis, while operating profit was £20m, up from £18.1m.
In Central Europe, the business was challenged by a highly competitive and price-sensitive landscape. This meant volumes fell by 20.6% compared to last year, with turnover down 7.9% on a constant currency basis.
In Australia, Hilton operates a joint venture with Woolworths. The arrangement sees the company receive a 50% share of the agreed fees charged by the joint venture company for operating certain Woolworths’ meat processing and packing plants, based on the volume of retail packed meat delivered in Woolworths’ stores. Hilton is also working on a new factory in Queensland, Australia.