Despite the softened fresh prepared food market, its UK division generated revenues of £394.2m. This was ahead of the wider UK fresh prepared food market, which declined by 0.7% in the quarter. Growth remained volume-driven.
Changes made during the quarter include transferring its frying business to a new facility and closing the original site. The company also “withdrew from certain low margin business”, incurring “exceptional charges” of £3.6m in the quarter, mostly due to redundancy payments and asset impairments.
Agust Gudmundsson, chief executive officer, said: “The group delivered a strong first half performance, building our market share whilst also improving margins. We expect the trading environment to continue to be challenging with the UK grocery market remaining highly competitive.
“Although the discounters continue to gain ground, we remain absolutely committed to supporting the growth plans of our existing customers.
“To achieve this, we are significantly increasing our capital spend to underpin recent business wins and we continue to invest heavily in product innovation.”