Losses treble at Premier Foods


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The Independent Online

The food group Premier Foods is pinning its hopes of a turnaround on a relaunch of its Mr Kipling cake brand and the return of its Homepride Fred character after its half-yearly pre-tax losses more than tripled from £15.7m to £54.9m.

Sales at the group fell 6.1 per cent to £364.4m in the first half of the year as difficult market conditions in the supermarkets sector hit the food producer.

But its chief executive, Gavin Darby, said: “We grew profitability and most of our ammunition is yet to fire. The second half of the year will see a number of new product launches.”

It will double its marketing budget in the second half, compared with a year ago, and will launch TV and social media adverts for Mr Kipling in August. The Homepride Fred character will also return to television screens after a seven-year break.

For the period, Premier Foods said trading profit was up 2.1 per cent to £48.1m, better than analysts expected. The pre-tax loss was largely due to a write-off of financing costs.