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Hilton Food Group (HFG) has continued to grow sales in the first half of its financial year, boosted by increased volumes from its Seachill fish business.

The meat packing company said today that trading in the 28 weeks to 14 July has been in line with expectations, with the business continuing to grow through additional volumes.

In the UK, it said turnover has continued to grow, reflecting strong volume growth in the Seachill fish business which was boosted by recent business wins. Its Irish business has also experienced top-line growth in the first half.

Holland’s turnover is “a little lower” than in 2018, though Hilton said it is already seeing an encouraging contribution from its share of the Dalco vegetarian business.

It also saw growth in Portugal, while Central Europe was in line with expectations, including the start-up of a new fresh food facility.

It saw “strong” double-digit growth in the first half in Australia, underpinned by the volumes being processed at its Morningside satellite facility in Brisbane, Queensland. Production at its new facility at Heathwood in Brisbane will begin in the third quarter of 2019 and that “should ensure continued growth momentum”. Progress in developing the facility in New Zealand, including a fish unit, has also continued.

Hilton said: “The group’s financial position remains strong with bank facilities in place to support current and future growth. Hilton continues to explore opportunities to invest and grow the business in both domestic and overseas markets.”

Morning update

Retail technology company Eagle Eye (EYE) has issued a trading update ahead of its results for the year ended 30 June 2019, which are expected to be announced on 17 September.

The company has grown revenues by 23% to £16.9m in the year, with growth from the impact of new client wins, transaction growth from brand and audience network activity, together with continued deepening of other existing customer engagements.

In January 2019 it signed a new five-year contract with Waitrose & Partners, who will use its AIR platform to improve their digital marketing proposition. Other customers to join the platform include Dobbies, Lyle & Scott and a number of premium F&B brands.

Eagle Eye’s AIR platform posted revenue growth of 32%, and now represents 94% of group sales.

Customer churn reduced to 0.8% from 1.7% last year.

EBITDA of £0.7m was a reverse of a £2m EBITDA loss last year and ahead of the Board’s expectations

Tim Mason, Chief Executive of Eagle Eye, said: “We are delighted to announce a positive end to a successful year. We have delivered our first EBITDA profit and generated £0.6m of cash in the second half of the year, while expanding the reach and capabilities of the business. Our customers see the Eagle Eye AIR platform as a key part of competing in today’s digital retail environment.

“The proven value of our platform, combined with high levels of recurring revenue, increasing transaction volumes and a significant sales pipeline, means we enter the new year with confidence.”

Elsewhere, Young’s has appointed Simon Dodd as to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer.

Dodd has spent more than a decade working in the pub and brewing sector, most recently a director of Fuller’s and managing director of their beer company, having previously been operations director of their premium city pubs division.

Prior to joining Fuller’s, he was at the Orchid Pub Company where he held the role of chief operating officer following his promotion from the position of commercial director.

Simon will join the board of Young’s on 2 September 2019, reporting to Patrick Dardis.

CEO Patrick Dardis commented: “I am delighted that we have been able to attract someone of Simon’s calibre and experience to take on this new role. I am confident that the extensive experience, knowledge and relevant skills that Simon has built up over his career will make a significant and positive difference to Young’s.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has fallen a further 0.5% back to 7,511.5pts.

Hilton Food Group shares are up 2.1% to 960.5p. Eagle Eye shares are up 6.7% to 182p.

Other risers this morning include Premier Foods (PFD), up 3.9% to 38.5p, Mitchells & Butlers (MAB), up 3% to 307p and FeverTree (FEVR), up 1.8% to 2,210.6p.

Fallers so far today include Cranswick (CWK), down 2.1% to 2,470p, Greggs (GRG), down 1.3% to 2,444p and B&M European Value Retail (BME), down 0.9% to 353.9p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 dropped 0.6% to 7,535.4pts yesterday as worries over global trade and the relationship between the US and China resurfaced.

Closer to home Premier Foods (PFD) shares fell back 1.1% to 37.1p after it posted its first quarter trading update, with branded growth held back by weaker performance in its private label business.

Vimto producer Nichols (NICL) jumped 4.3% to 1,700p yesterday as it shrugged off the cooler UK weather to posted solid first half sales growth.

Hotel Chocolat (HOTC) was up 2.1% to 362.5p as it posted full year revenue growth of 14% to £132m.

Other risers included McColl’s (MCLS), up 4.6% to 67.6p, PureCircle (PURE), up 3.3% to 265p, Glanbia (GLB), up 2.3% to €14.42, Imperial Brands (IMB), up 2.2% to 2,096p and PZ Cussons (PZC), up 2.1% to 220p.

Fallers yesterday included Hilton Food Group ahead of its trading update this morning, falling 2.1% to 941p, Just Eat (JE), down 1.7% to 624p, Bakkavor (BAKK), down 1.6% to 109.6p, Marks & Spencer (MKS), down 1.5% to 204.6p, C&C Group (CCR), down 1.5% to €4.02 and Majestic Wine (WINE), down 1.5% to 268.5p.