Bisto and Mr Kipling makers Premier Foods' shares boosted by sales growth

Company reported sales of Batchelors Super Noodles jumped to more than 13 million last year

Caitlin Morrison
Tuesday 15 May 2018 08:39 BST
Premier is the parent company of some of the UK's most well-known brands
Premier is the parent company of some of the UK's most well-known brands (Reuters)

Shares in Premier Foods, the owner of household brands such as Bisto, Mr Kipling and Hovis, rose more than 5 per cent in early trading after the group reported increased sales and profit for last year.

The company said it performed ahead of expectations in terms of revenue, trading profit and debt in the year to 31 March.

Revenue rose 3.6 per cent to £819.2m, from £790.4m the year before, while profit grew by 5.1 per cent from £117m to £123m, while the group shrank its debt to £496.4m from £523.2m.

Premier boss Gavin Darby said the drivers of the group’s positive performance were “innovation, our international business and our strategic partnerships with Nissin and Mondelez International”. The group formed an alliance with Nissin in 2016 after fending off a takeover bid from US firm McCormick, and last year agreed to a five-year cake deal with Mondelez-owned Cadbury.

Mr Darby also said that Premier’s Batchelors brand is now the fastest growing in the company’s portfolio, in a marked turnaround from three years ago when it was in decline, with sales of Super Noodles jumping past the 13 million mark last year.

Earlier this year, Premier was forced to address reports that it was considering a sale of Batchelors, with Nissin named as a potential buyer of the Cup a Soup owner. Premier said discussions about a possible sale had not gone “beyond an exploratory stage”.

The company said its outlook for the coming months was optimistic.

“Trading profit progress in the year benefitted from this encouraging commercial performance as well as our disciplined focus on cost and efficiency,” said Mr Darby.

“In the year ahead, we expect to make further progress on our key priorities, building on the strong momentum we created in 2017-18.”

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