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Profits soar at up-for-sale Iceland


Frozen food retailer Iceland has reported impressive results for the 52 weeks to March 25th 2011, with net profit before tax up 14.8 per cent year-on-year to £155.5 million.

The company, which is currently the subject of a £1.6 billion takeover battle between many of the UK’s largest grocers, saw like-for-like trading rise 2.1 per cent compared to the previous 12-month period.

With EBITDA up two per cent to £187.9 million, overall sales growing by 5.9 per cent to £2.39 billion and the group effectively debt free at its year end, it is easy to see why top tier grocers such as Asda and Morrisons are reportedly interested in acquiring the business to add to their growing convenience store portfolios.

Iceland CEO and founder Malcolm Walker, who holds a 26 per cent share in the company and is keen for the firm to have “an independent future”, said that the results represented the sixth consecutive year of growth since he returned to manage the group in 2005.

“We continue to thrive in a highly competitive market place by offering customers the best everyday value in frozen foods and for their daily purchases of grocery and chilled foods, underlined by our round sum pricing policy,” he explained.

“Iceland is the main driver of innovation in the UK frozen food market, launching more than 200 new products during the last 12 months. This reaffirms our position as the country’s leading frozen food retailer, unsurpassed in range and value.”

Over the course of the year Iceland opened 20 net new stores, creating 1,500 additional jobs in the process. The retailer now has a portfolio of 796 outlets, including those under the Cooltrader brand, and there are plans to open another 15 this financial year.

The future for the business is uncertain though, with the creditors of failed bank and majority Iceland shareholder Landsbanki pushing for a sale.

On May 10th the Landsbanki Resolution Committee appointed UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise on selling the retailer.

Walker added: “I am grateful to our staff and customers for their continuing loyalty during the period of uncertainty inevitably created by the decision of the Resolution Committee of Landsbanki to sell their shareholding in the group.

“My colleagues and I will work constructively to bring this process to a satisfactory conclusion. Our own objective is to ensure that Iceland has a strong, prosperous and independent future, and continues to serve its customers for many years to come.”

Published on Friday 10 June by Editorial Assistant

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