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Positive start to the year for Hilton

Hilton Food Group, the UK-headquartered meat-packing business in which beef baron Larry Goodman has a 6pc stake, said it has been encouraged by the start to its year despite challenging conditions for consumers.

The company, which has a packing facility in Drogheda, counts major retailers such as Tesco and Ahold among its largest clients.

In an interim management statement issued yesterday, the company said that trading since the beginning of January has been in line with expectations and that the firm has continued to benefit from geographic diversity.

It recently opened a new facility in Denmark, while it also has operations in Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK.

The company said that it had made "good progress" in western Europe and had benefited from the recovery in the Swedish economy.

In its last financial year, Hilton reported revenue of £864m (€989m) and a pre-tax profit of £22.2m (€25.4m). Hilton said that its highest volume growth had been experienced in Ireland, central Europe and the Netherlands.

Irish Independent