Vion Group profits top £50m despite 'challenging year'

The Vion Food Group has announced a rise in overall net profit from €54m (£46m) to €62m (£53.5m) in 2009.

The European food giant described its results, which saw turnover grow by 5% to €9bn (£7.7bn), as a "cautious recovery" with growth down to a combination of "product innovation, focused commercial activity and cost reductions".

Net sales in the UK grew from €2.3m (£2m) in 2009, up from €1.5m (£1.2m) in 2008, although Vion only acquired the Grampian Country Food Group in August 2008.

The company has been forced to make a number of redundancies over the course of 2009 and 2010 with cuts at its Welsh Country Foods plant in North Wales, and its Haverhill cooked meats operation, as well as the closure of some sites, such as its frozen sausage operation in Shap, Cumbria.

According to the company’s annual report, the UK workforce has fallen from 13,207 in 2008 to 12,659 in 2009.

A spokesman for Vion Food UK said: "This has been a challenging year for the UK business, but whilst much needs to be done, the results for the UK in 2009 have been very encouraging, as overall performance exceeded targets. A programme to consolidate the operations is ahead of plan, and significant investment has been made across the UK business.

Vion Food UK is committed to further investment in plant, product, people, and innovation in order to meet strategic goals."

The UK is now Vion’s second largest market after Germany.

>> Vion confirms cuts at Welsh Country Foods

>> Fire at Vion Haverhill plant