- Fresh prepared food provider Bakkavor reported a sharp decline in profit as a 'very challenging' UK market hurt growth.

For the six months ended 30 June, pre-tax profit fell 58.6% to £19.5m and revenue increased 1.4% to £923m, with like-for-like revenue up 2.0%.

UK revenue, representing 80% of total revenue, fell 0.3% to £813.5m, pressured by a difficult backdrop for the UK grocery sector amid retail price inflation and continued weak consumer sentiment.

But better growth was seen in its international business, with like-for-like revenues rising by 12.7% to £105.7m, driven by 'increased volumes across our largest customers, and a consistently strong performance by our business in China,' the company said.

An interim dividend of 2.0p per share was declared.

'Despite a subdued start to the second half, we currently expect an uplift in performance, boosted in the UK by the impact of new business and an easing of raw material inflation,' the company said. 'Our International business is making further progress and therefore the group remains confident in delivering full-year performance broadly in line with 2018,' the company said.

At 8:47am: [LON:BAKK] Bakkavor Group Plc share price was +0.5p at 107.9p

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