Premier Foods sees sales rise after shake-up

City A.M. Reporter
PREMIER Foods, Britain’s biggest food producer and the owner of brands such as Hovis bread and Mr Kipling cakes, yesterday posted rising quarterly sales and said its restructuring programme was on track to help it meet its full-year expectations.

The group, which has been selling non-core businesses to bring down £1.3bn of debt built up before the 2007 banking crisis, yesterday said it expected to cut costs by a further £20m in 2013 after saving some £40m so far this year.

Sales from ongoing businesses, excluding milling, rose two per cent for the three months to 30 September, helped by its focus on a slimmed-down portfolio of eight best-selling brands.

Premier said it expected to raise £275m from asset disposals by the end of the year, which would cut its debts by 22 per cent.

The food maker also said it had lost a bread contract due for renewal in mid-2013 worth about £75m a year and was examining “a range of options” for its bread business, which accounts for nearly 40 per cent of revenues. Premier recently revealed it was splitting its bread arm into a new division.