The rapidly growing demand for vegetarian and non-vegetarian products has helped the food packaging business increase sales of Hilton Foods.
The company processes, packs and distributes meat, fish and other protein products in the UK and international supermarkets, including Tesco.
Its revenue was 3.3 billion last year, an increase of 22 per cent over 2020, two-thirds of which came from outside the UK.
Demand: The demand for Hilton meatless protein foods is increasing
This increase was the result of strong performance across all protein products, with vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals increasing by 26 percent in just two years.
Sales of meat and fish have halved – or 13 percent – while sales of premium readymade foods have increased by 36 percent since 2019.
But pre-tax profits fell 12 percent to £ 8.2 million due to the recent acquisition of £ 47.4 million, exceptional costs related to the acquisition and the fire that destroyed the Belgian factory. Adjusted pre-tax profits actually rose 13 per cent to .2 67.2 million.
Enthusiastic performance comes as Hilton moves forward with the acquisition in 2021 to expand its both meat and non-meat business.
In October last year, it bought the remaining 50 percent of Dalco, a Netherlands-based vegetarian and non-vegetarian protein producer.
It also acquired Fairfax Meadow Europe, a London-based catering butcher and Fopen, a Dutch salmon producer that gave it access to the US market for the first time.
Despite continued disruptions to the global supply chain and rising inflation, Hilton was overwhelmed and said it was looking at other possible acquisitions.
‘We continue to explore opportunities with existing and new customers for further expansion in our domestic and overseas markets,’ the group said.
Hilton now accounts for more than two-thirds of its income outside the UK and three-quarters of its size.
According to the company’s boss, Philip Heffer, despite the continued ‘market headwind’, its international reach makes it well-placed to ‘create long-term sustainable value’.
‘We want to offer all the protein that people want to put on their plates, indoors and out, not only in Europe and Asia, but also in North America,’ he said.
“The acquisitions we’ve made over the last year will accelerate this.”
In line with this optimism, the board has announced a final dividend of 21.5p, bringing the total dividend for 2021 to 29.7p.
Hilton bought a Dutch salmon producer who gave it access to the US market for the first time
Despite the overwhelming results, shares of Hilton Foods fell 3.3 percent to .8 11.82 in afternoon trading.
Sarah Welford, director of Edison Group, commented: ‘With a diversified product portfolio and recent growth in revenue outside the UK, the group is in a good position to achieve a sustainable level of advancement.
‘However, the retail market is still fragile and with rising packaging and shipment costs, Hilton Foods is still facing a challenging year.’
In addition to the results, the company announced that its finance boss, Nigel Majewski, would resign after 15 years in the job.
Majewski will remain at the company, but will take over as director of investor relations and strategic development.
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