MARKET REPORT: Hilton Food tumbles as surging costs hit profits


Shares in Hilton Food Group endured one of their worst days on the stock market after the company warned ‘unprecedented’ cost increases had hit profits.

The FTSE 250 meat and fish packer, which operates across Europe, Australia and New Zealand, said it struggled to curb the rising costs hurting its UK seafood business.

As a result, its profit for the year would be below expectations.

Shares crash: Hilton Food Group, which operates across Europe, New Zealand and Australia, said it struggled to curb the rising costs impacting its UK seafood business

But Hilton Foods added it was well-placed for 2023 given its ‘strong’ financial position.

But analysts seemed less than impressed, with RBC cutting the target price to 600p from 700p.

Hilton’s biggest fall came in September when shares tumbled 28 per cent after a profit warning for the year.

Shares plunged another 15.1 per cent, or 96p, to 538p yesterday.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.08 per cent, or 6.15 points, to 7306.14 and the FTSE 250 was up 0.75 per cent, or 138.32, points to 18,697.89.

At advertising giant WPP, chief financial officer John Rogers is stepping down after three years to be replaced by Britvic finance boss Joanne Wilson.

She will receive the same package as Rogers, 54, who earned £4.7million in pay including bonuses and share awards last year.

Stock Watch – Seraphine

Shares in Seraphine hit a new low after the maternity clothing brand warned that trading remained tough.

The group, whose clothes have been worn by the Princess of Wales, said it faced a ‘challenging’ summer.

Revenue inched down to about £19million in the 26 weeks to October against £20.8million a year earlier. 

The group made a loss of £1.5million but expects to return to profit in the second half.

Shares, which floated last year at 295p, slid 29.3 per cent or 5.2p to 12.5p.

 

 

Rogers is believed to be in line for a new top job.

WPP’s shares rose 2.4 per cent, or 19p, to 824.8p.

DCC swung into reverse after its profit fell short of market expectations.

The Irish conglomerate saw its profit rise 13 per cent to £221.2million in the six months to September.

But Jefferies said this was 2 per cent below the consensus among analysts amid a decline in DCC’s healthcare business. 

JP Morgan lowered its target price to 7000p from 7500p. DCC’s shares fell 8.2 per cent, or 407p, to 4537p.

Despite Morgan Stanley raising their target prices, BP sank 3.2 per cent, or 16.1p, to 485.7p while Shell slid 2.5 per cent, or 63p, to 2438p.

Defence firm Babcock was up 4 per cent, or 11p, to 285p after Berenberg issued a ‘buy’ rating and a target price of 425p.

FTSE 250 insurer Direct Line revealed plans for a more affordable, basic car insurance policy after seeing sales slump following price hikes.

The policy, to be launched under the Churchill brand, will offer cover for the policyholder’s vehicle and third-party damage, but strip out many extras.

Details of the new basic cover came as Direct Line said total motor premiums tumbled 8.9 per cent to £1.1billion in the first nine months of 2022 after it raised prices following a surge in claim costs.

Shares fell as much as 8 per cent in early trading, before closing 3.1 per cent lower, or 6.2p, to 193.2p.

Also in the second tier, Hammerson was handed a much-needed boost in its post-pandemic recovery as shoppers returned to stores. 

The owner of shopping centres such as the Bullring in Birmingham said footfall across the UK, Ireland and France was now between 90 per cent and 95 per cent of the level seen before the pandemic struck.

Following the upbeat results, the group expects profit for the year to be at least £100million – above the £86.5million consensus. Shares gained 4.8 per cent, or 1.02p, to 22.5p.

Engineering group IMI rose 5.1 per cent, or 67p, to 1387p after it agreed to snap up the smart temperature controls manufacturer Heatmiser in a deal that could reach £118million.

Kingspan rose 1.4 per cent, or 0.7p, to 54p despite five brokers cutting the building insulation specialist’s target price.

An Esports firm backed by David Beckham is to offer courses to help young people break into the industry. Guild Esports revealed a tie-up with post-16 education provider SCL for BTEC diplomas.

Its shares rose 8.3 per cent, or 0.13p, to 1.63p.

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