Uniq hit by falling European sales for its chilled foods

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Europe

UK-based Uniq has become the latest processor to fall afoul of
Europe's stagnant food market, issuing another profit warning and
blaming poor sales of its chilled convenience foods in its
homemarket and on the continent for its woes.

Heinz announced last month it would pull out of its frozen food business in Europe, will boost its presence in China and Russia, and spend more on developing new processing and packaging methodstargeted at growing market categories such as "natural" and chilled. Heinz's announcement followed hard on the heels of Unilever's decision last week to look into "strategicoptions" for its frozen food operations in Europe, which might probably include a sale. Uniq stated in a release on Friday that in a bid to boost flagging sales for its chilled foods products the UK business would be reorganised and jobs would be cut in a bid to improve profits. In a briefing to analysts on Friday, chief executive Geoff Eaton said the company will create six "customer focused" business units. Three would focus on the company's desserts businesses.The rest would focus on sandwiches and dips, prepared salads, and fish and ready meals. Earlier in the week the comapany announced interim operating profits would be break even and that full-year profits would be "substantially" below expectations. The company plans to publish its half-year results for the 26 weeks to 1 October 2005, on 14 November 2005. "The trading environment is challenging and the significant change programmes I am outlining today will take time to deliver," Eaton stated. "However, the agenda for change isdynamic and exciting as we focus on optimising the value in each business we operate." Uniq said sales weakness in the UK and northern Europe would lead to operating profit for the first half close to breakeven. Sales fell by five per cent in Northern Europe in the year to date. In southern European countries he sees opportunities for improving brand management, improving efficiency through building cross functional teams at the factories and developing a leaner and fasterprocess for developing new products. External links to companies or organisations mentioned in this story: Uniq

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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