Hilton Food Group has hailed a strong performance on the Continent but admits the UK and Ireland remain tough in the wake of ‘horsegate’.

Performance at the meatpacker - which is a dedicated supplier to Tesco in the UK - had been in line with the Board’s expectations during the period 31 December 2012 to date, it said in its interim management statement issued this morning.

“Both the UK and Ireland have remained challenging particularly given the well-publicised industry issues faced in the first quarter and continuing difficult macro-economic conditions,” it said in the statement. Hilton was not implicated in the horsemeat scandal.

The company had continued to build volumes at its new robotic facility in Denmark and had seen turnover growth in Sweden, it said. Its Dutch business was benefitting from new product lines and it was performing well in Central Europe.

The group’s financial position remained strong and there were no significant changes to that position since the last financial year end, it added. Hilton continued to explore opportunities to grow the business in domestic and overseas markets.

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