Hilton Food Group is on track to smash through the £1 billion sales mark this year, following a strong performance from the group’s Danish business, CEO Robert Watson has claimed. 

Hilton – a major meat packer for Tesco – reported a 10.4% year-on-year rise in pre-tax profit, to £24.5m, in the 52 weeks to 1 January 2011 on the back of a 13.6% increase in sales. Growth in 2011 largely been driven by a new facility in Denmark, the company said in a statement. “You’d have to expect with that, and some other growth around the business, that we would go for a billion in 2012,” Watson told The Grocer.

Watson attributed a 0.1 percentage point drop in margin from 2.7% in 2010, to 2.6% last year, partially to a time lag in recouping higher input costs. However, he remained confident the company would achieve its “ambition” of 3%, although he did not give a timeline for doing so.

Watson said he remained confident in Hilton’s business with Tesco, despite the retailer’s recent lacklustre performance. “We’re confident in the future with Tesco going forward, and their position in the marketplace.” He forecast a strong summer performance for its BBQ and burger business with Tesco because of the Olympics and the Jubilee.