Meat and fish supplier Hilton Food Group reported increased revenue and profits as it expanded its reach across protein categories around the world.
The group, which supplies Tesco in the UK, increased sales by 19% to £3.3bn in the 52 weeks to January 2, with volumes up 5% year on year.
Adjusted pre-tax profit increased by 10% to £67.2m and EBITDA increased by 9.9% to £139m – although associated exceptional costs of £8.2m acquisitions and a fire at a Belgian factory caused the group’s pre-tax profits to fall by 12.3% to £47.4m.
Hilton has grown rapidly since its IPO in 2007 and now operates in 19 markets in Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America.
In recent years, the group has extended its reach from meat to fish with the acquisition of Icelandic Seachill in 2017.
It has continued on the acquisition path over the past year, entering the North American market for the first time with the purchase of leading Dutch smoked salmon producer Foppen. It also entered the UK food service business with the acquisition of Fairfax Meadow and entered new markets in Europe with a deal with vegetarian company Dalco.
More than 75% of the group’s volumes in 2021 were produced in countries other than the United Kingdom.
Chief Executive Philip Heffer said 2021 had been a year of delivery and diversification.
“We delivered another strong financial performance with growing volumes and revenues, maintaining a trend of continued volume growth every year since Hilton’s IPO in 2007,” he added.
“These results reflect exceptional teamwork as well as the power of our business model, which is rooted in the partnerships we have built with customers across Europe and Asia-Pacific.”
Heffer said Hilton was “well positioned” to create sustainable long-term value, despite near-term challenges or market headwinds.
“While these headwinds persist, our model positions us well to deliver nutritious, affordable and increasingly sustainable protein at scale, meeting changing consumer demands.”
Chairman Robert Watson said against the backdrop of a more challenging environment, with global uncertainties impacting supply chains and inflation, Hilton’s board was confident of making further progress in 2022.
Hilton also announced in a separate statement that it had named Matt Osborne as chief financial officer. He will take up his post after the General Meeting on May 24, replacing Nigel Majewski, who held the position of Chief Financial Officer for 15 years.
Osborne joined Hilton from Greene King in 2018 as group financial controller.
Despite the strong results, Hilton shares opened down 0.5% at 1,216p this morning.
tobacco giant Imperial Marks said it made “good progress” despite weaker performance in Europe offsetting growth in other regions.
A first-half business update revealed that adjusted operating profits are expected to rise about 2% as losses from its next-generation products (NGPs) narrow.
The Group’s net revenues in the first six months are expected to be broadly stable compared to last year, reflecting a weaker tobacco performance in Europe.
However, Imperial, which makes the JPS, L&B and Winston brands, said gains in cigarette market share in the US, UK and Australia more than offset declines in Germany and Spain.
The group noted a return to pre-Covid shopping habits as northern Europeans resumed international travel.
He also expected price increases in the latter part of the first half to support better revenue performance in the last six months of the fiscal years.
Imperial, which previously announced it was leaving Russia, said it was continuing negotiations with a local third party for an “orderly transfer” of its Russian assets and operations as a going concern.
“In the meantime, we also continue to support our Ukrainian colleagues and their families, including with transport and accommodation to enable them to flee the areas hardest hit by the conflict, as well as resettlement assistance for those who left Ukraine,” the group added.
Investors were buoyed by the Imperial update, with shares up 2.2% at 1,652p this morning.
The reopening of domestic and overseas markets has helped the premium spirits group Distill finish the year strong.
Maker of RedLeg spiced rum, Blackwoods gin and Blavod vodka saw a 32% increase in revenue and a 38% increase in volumes in its fourth quarter ended March 31.
Executive Chairman Don Goulding said in a trade update that the source of business in terms of territories and trade channels continued to expand as markets reopened following the Covid shutdowns.
This translated into export revenue growth of 70% year-on-year, with domestic sales up 29% and overall activity surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
RedLeg Spiced Rum remained the main driver of growth, with sales up 37%, while Blackwoods Gin topped the market, with volumes up 5%. Licensed Blavod Black Vodka volumes increased by 260% with the gradual reopening of duty-free outlets.
Distil also confirmed that it does not, directly or indirectly, source any packaging, ingredients or production from Ukraine or Russia.
“We used to export our brands to these markets and while they were growing they were on a low base and they were relatively low volumes,” Goulding added.
“Their closure had no significant impact on our results or plans.
“Our team raised funds for the Red Cross crisis appeal in Ukraine, and we are committed to matching those funds.”
the FTSE100 opened down 0.4% at 7,583.92 points yesterday.
Deliveroo, HelloFresh and Delivery Hero were among the early losers, down 2.7% to 121.9p, 2.3% to €44.94 and 2.2% to €47.15 respectively.
Yesterday in the city
The FTSE 100 remained in the black yesterday despite the threat of further Russian sanctions hanging over it, with the index up 0.7% to 7,613.72 points.
Shares of Tesco and Sainsbury’s came under mild pressure after fellow listed supermarket Morrisons warned of pressure on earnings in the current volatile conditions, with Tesco down 0.8% to 273.8p and Sainsbury’s down 0.7% to 245.5p.
Conversely, discounter B&M European Value Retail rose 2.5% to 561.6p, while Ocado climbed 1.3% to 1,228p.
Finsbury Food Group led the way for grocery elevators, up 7.9% to 75p, with HelloFresh up 4.8% to €46.50 and Delivery Hero up 4.1% to €48.12, and Science in Sport up 4.2% to 56.5 pence.
It was also a good day for Hotel Chocolat Group, up 4% at 440p, Deliveroo, up 3% at 125.3p, and AG Barr, up 1.9% at 540p.
Fallers included McColl’s Retail Group, up 12.3% at 2.1p, Associated British Foods, down 1.4% at 1,643p, and Hilton Food Group, down 1.8% at 1,222p.