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Meat packager Hilton Food's profit rises marginally

(Reuters) - Meat packager Hilton Food Group Plc (LSE:HFG) said pre-tax profit for the first half rose marginally as favourable exchange rates helped offset the impact of high meat prices and lower consumer spending in Europe.

Hilton Food said pressure from tight consumer spending and high meat prices are expected to continue in Europe over the rest of 2013, but the company sees full-year profit in line with its expectations.

Pre-tax profit rose marginally to 12.95 million pounds for the 28 weeks ended July 14 from 12.53 million pounds a year earlier.

Revenue rose about 9 percent to 593.8 million pounds. (http://link.reuters.com/qed92v)

Hilton Food, which counts retailers such as Tesco (TESO.O), Ahold (AHLN.AS) and Coop Danmark among its customers, generates more than 90 percent of its revenue from western Europe and warned in January of constrained consumer spending in the region.

The British retailer, which formed a joint venture with Australia's largest supermarket chain Woolworths Ltd (WOW.AX) in January, said initial start-up costs in the country reduced operating profit by 3.8 percent.

It also said last month that the joint venture would set up a new meat processing facility in southeastern Australia.

(Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)