Hilton Food Group PLC (LON:HFG) said trading has been in line with expectations, following a strong start to the year with momentum continuing in some of its markets.
The meat-packing specialist has made good progress in Europe, where demand has increased because of people being stuck at home during lockdowns, though costs were higher due to COVID-19 safety measures.
In the UK, red meat business turnover has grown strongly relative to last year and the group is moving production to Huntingdon from the middle of the year to reduce costs and provide additional capacity.
Hilton Seafood has grown volumes and continues to see a shift from counter sales to centrally packed products.
The Scandinavian markets have seen turnover growth although in Sweden this has been held back by the lack of availability of Swedish meat, while sales in Denmark were lifted by growing volumes of chicken products.
Since the start of January there has been growth in central Europe, Portugal and Belgium.
Sales in Dalco, the firm’s plant-based product joint venture, are slightly ahead of a strong comparator period.
In the Pacific area, Australia has also seen growth while the New Zealand meat and fish plant is due to start-up in the third quarter of 2021.
“We see a focus on supplier resilience as a lasting impact of Covid-19 and this period will be the ultimate test of the supply chain,” analysts at Peel Hunt commented.
“We see this as a clear opportunity for Hilton to demonstrate the benefits of its close customer relationships and open book contracts, where the customer is able to have clear insight into its supply chain. This should provide the blueprint for additional business wins.”
Shares were flat at 1,230p on Monday at the opening bell.
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