Greencore has said a “challenging UK food market” has resulted in a flat level of growth in like-for-like (LFL) sales.

In the company’s interim management statement for the 13 weeks to 28 December 2012, published today, the Irish food firm reported its latest results were up against a tough comparable period. This includes an 11.8% growth reported during the 17 weeks to 27 January 2012.

The firm said the flat level of growth in LFLs excludes the impact of the restructuring of its chilled desserts activity as part of Uniq, which Greencore acquired in September 2011.

Damian McNeela, analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: “Greencore confirms it has completed the restructuring of the Uniq desserts business, which we believe is good news and should pave the way for improved returns from its remaining desserts business.”

Greencore, known for producing sandwiches, chilled non-dairy desserts and Christmas cakes for the UK market, said its convenience foods sector recorded a 2.5% rise in revenue to £285.8m during the 13-week period.

The company’s ingredients and property division, including the Trilby Trading business which imports and distributes vegetable oils and fats for the food processing industry, saw a 11.6% drop in revenue to £13.1m.

Greencore said this was due to “the phasing of orders and shipments”, adding,  “Our views on the division’s potential financial delivery for the year remains unchanged.”

The company concluded: “The group’s financial position remains robust, with good headroom within existing debt facilities. The group continues to manage cash tightly and remains focused on further deleveraging throughout FY13.”

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