City File: Sweet biscuits

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THE lacklustre performance of United Biscuits could finally be about to change. Its difficult year will be revealed on Thursday, with the announcement of pre-tax profits down to between pounds 159m and pounds 165m, against pounds 211.3m last time.

But all eyes are looking to 1993 and a sound performance from recent acquisitions and a stronger balance sheet after the pounds 220m sale of Terry's, UB's chocolates division.

What is more, consultants have been crawling all over the US biscuit operation Keebler, and there should be positive signs that this one-time millstone has regained some of its lost ground.

UB shares have underperformed because of problems in the US. But with improvements over there, and solid trading in the UK - despite strong competition - there could be mileage in the stock.