After six years' decline, patience wears thin
Friday 15 March 1996
Management, led by chairman Colin Short and chief executive Eric Nicoli, are "kitchen sinking" the results this time - hoping to draw a line under recent traumas. The worst is now over, they say. We thought about giving up and selling to anyone prepared to take us on. But in the end we decided to have a go. The result is New United Biscuits and the future looks bright. Few share their confidence.
The company has plenty of excuses for its miserable performance - the legacy of the previous management, the weather and nasty competitors that are just too powerful. As far as they go, they are all reasonable ones. However, tough decisions could undoubtedly have been taken earlier. Market conditions have been difficult for all food companies. Most have managed themselves better. UB does have strong brand names such as McVities and KP but has not made them pay. Its biscuit margins, for example, have fallen from 16 per cent to 10 per cent in the last six years. Its operating margins are now lower than those of Hillsdown Holdings, which operates in the more mundane areas of chickens and eggs. If brands are added value, where's the value?
So far management has been given the benefit of the doubt but executives must know they are drinking at last-chance saloon. Colin Short, the former ICI finance director who joined UB as chairman last year, is a fine man. As long as he and the non-executives stand behind Mr Nicoli, boardroom changes seem unlikely. But after six years of relative decline, patience is running thin.
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 2 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...