Greencore hit by soaring flour prices Greencore has warned that results at its ambient grocery businesses will fall short of expectations. Finance director Kevin O'Sullivan blamed soaring flour prices that had depressed margins in UK baking and "commissioning issues" that had delayed the opening of a new cake factory in Hull. In a trading update preceding the full-year results, chief executive David Dilger said he was encouraged by the growth of chilled foods given that "overall trading conditions are far from easy". However, margins were under pressure across several divisions and grocery operations overall were not delivering satisfactory levels of profitability. Total group profits are expected to be at the bottom end of forecasts. O'Sullivan said: "The value bread market is in decline as well as being subject to substantial price pressures on transport and flour." The Hull opening is behind schedule because of "substantial issues relating to training and automation," he explained. The Hazlewood integration is proceeding according to plan, with proceeds from the disposal of non core businesses generating 98m euros so far. The figure includes cash from disposals announced this week, including Hazlewood's Dutch frozen meat snack business, a Dutch waffle manufacturer and three fish processing companies ­ two in the Netherlands and one in the UK. Greencore expects to complete the disposal programme by May 2002. l Hazlewood Pizza is opening a major new facility in Deeside in November that will absorb production at the Bedford pizza plant. It is anticipated the Bedford plant will close in April 2002. {{NEWS }}