* Notice of Annual General Meeting 2013 * Form of Proxy for the Annual General Meeting Copies of the above documents were posted to shareholders on 15 April 2013 and have been published on the Company's investor website at www.hiltonfoodgroupplc.com. These documents have also been submitted to the National Storage Mechanism and are available for inspection at www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/NSM. The Company's 2013 Annual General Meeting will be held at The Old Bridge Hotel, 1 High Street, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 3TQ on Wednesday 15 May 2013, commencing at 12pm.
Still, that shouldn't detract from the fact that Hilton is coping well in today's less than ideal conditions. There's also a tasty prospective dividend yield on offer - over 4 per cent based on Numis' estimated payout for end-2013 - supported by impressive cash generation. Yet the shares trade on 12 times the broker's end-2013 earnings estimate - not especially pricey for a food producer, even though most in that sector can't point to a growth story that looks as compelling as the potential from Hilton's Australian joint venture
25 Jan '13
That success is clear from its recent performance. Despite the impact of higher raw material meat prices on consumer demand, Hilton reported overall volume growth of 10.3 per cent at the half-year stage - helped by a contribution from its new Danish facility. The company is also generating plenty of cash - a fact that helped cut the net debt burden by 40 per cent at the half-year point, while also allowing for decent 10 per cent hike in the half-year dividend payout. Moreover, a trading update this month revealed that Hilton's performance had remained solid. The weak European economic backdrop, though, along with higher meat prices, are a worry. That's forcing cash-strapped consumers to trade down which is bad news for profit margins - the group's half-year operating margin, for example, fell about a percentage point on 2011's half-year margin figure. The group is also experiencing more competition in central Europe and looks heavily dependent on business from a single customer - Tesco, is currently responsible for about 35 per cent of Hilton's sales.
25 Jan '13
Even without the joint venture, Hilton looks in reasonable shape. It began expanding from its first facility in Huntingdon in 1999 and the group's success has largely reflected a focus on product development and through following existing customers as they entered new markets. It has benefited, in particular, from the fact that its central meat packing model is one that can be replicated relatively easily, while supply and production chains are flexible - allowing Hilton to seamlessly add fresh product lines for customers and take advantage of consumer-led trends.
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