In Australia, the group operates the venture with the supermarket chain, under which it earns a 50% share of the agreed service fees. This is charged by the joint venture company based on the volume of retail packed meat delivered to Woolworths’ stores produced by its plants in Bunbury, Western Australia and Truganina, Victoria.
Hilton said its relationship with Woolworths had progressed into a “new phase” with the restructuring of the joint venture.
It took full operational control of the Bunbury and Truganina plants under 15-year supply agreements. All employees have transferred to Hilton and it will acquire the plant assets following a two-year transitional period.
The company said it had commissioned a mince production line from a satellite facility in Brisbane, Queensland during the period.
Hilton Food Group revealed that it would continue to construct a new facility in Brisbane “where work is very well advanced” and it was also designing a new facility in New Zealand.
Profit, including service fee income and turnover after deducting operating costs during the period, was £1.8m (2017: £1.7m).
The news was revealed after Hilton Food Group unveiled strong trading following its purchase of fish supplier Seachill in November 2017.
Its interim results for the 28 weeks to 15 July 2018 revealed that turnover was up 25% to £863.6m (2017: £690.7m) and operating profit was £22.3m (2017: £18.8m).
The company said the results were boosted by the Seachill acquisition after absorbing higher central costs and set-up costs in Australia.
Executive chairman Robert Watson said: “We have further extended our geographical reach in Australia, where we commenced production and took operational control of two existing facilities whilst constructing a further facility and designing a new facility in New Zealand, which further extends our geographical reach.
“We remain committed to growing our business through innovation and product development, as well as continuing to explore opportunities to expand the business both at home and abroad.”