Hilton slightly ahead of expectations

Hilton Food says the group performed slightly ahead of the board's expectations in the 52 weeks to 1 January.

It says this reflects growth in a number of markets, as well as the positive impact of foreign currency translation. A trading statement says: "In Western Europe we have continued to grow the business, particularly in the UK, where we have had a good last quarter, and also in Ireland. In both Sweden and Holland, sales have been slightly up, whilst in Denmark, sales were slightly lower reflecting consumer demand. In Central Europe, performance has been in line with our expectations, as we continue to adapt our business model to the local environment.

"We are also pleased with the start-up of the pizza businesses in Poland and Sweden, along with the continued success of Hilton Food Solutions, our new trading subsidiary."

Earlier this month the group reported the formation of a new joint venture company in Portugal, SOHI Meat Solutions, in agreement with its joint venture partner Sonae. Hilton says its joint venture in Australia continues to make good progress, with the Victoria plant delivering strong year-on-year growth as expected. Planning and preparation work is under way for the site of the new production facility in Queensland.

The group says the outlook for 2017 remains positive, with Hilton's growth prospects underpinned by the recently confirmed expansion plans in Portugal and Queensland, Australia.