European chilled convenience food group Uniq has announced increased losses for the six months to 30 June 2009, despite comments from the firm that it is progressing well.

The supplier of sandwiches to Marks & Spencer (M&S) reported a pre-tax loss of £12.8m compared to £2.6m for the comparable period last year. Revenue from continuing operations stood at £141.1m, down from £143.4m in 2008.

The firm Uniq is currently in the process of restructuring the company. In March this year, it set out a plan to transform the group in 2009 by returning its UK arm to profitability and either to exit or find joint venture partners for its Continental business.

It recently won an extra £15m per annum of sandwich business with M&S, which it said would start to contribute to the figures in the second half of the year.

Chief executive Geoff Eaton commented: “We set ourselves a challenging agenda for 2009 and I am very pleased with our progress.

“I believe we are on track to complete the transformation of the group to a UK-focused business by the end of the year, and remain confident that we can deliver results in line with our expectations,” added Eaton.

Among its highlights, Uniq said, was the agreed €73m (£61.8m) sale of its French business, which forms part of its plan to focus on its UK arm.

In the trading statement, the company said consumer trading had been down across the board in 2008. However, it has brought its UK business near to break-even point, having reduced the decline in sales from 4.2% in the second half of 2008 to 1.6% in the first half of 2009; it reduced the level of loss by £1.3m to £0.5m.