A profit rise at Premier Foods has pleased investors with shares rising more than three per cent in early trading.
The maker of household favourites like Mr Kipling cakes, Oxo and Sharwood's has reported a 3.5 per cent rise pre-tax profits to £86.1m for the year to the start of April, while revenues inched up 0.6 per cent to £771.7m, ahead of expectation.
Sales for Mr Kipling, Oxo, Bisto, Sharwood's, Cadbury cakes and Lloyd Grossman all rose, however, Ambrosia custard and Batchelors noodles declined.
It has also succeeded in reducing its debt to £534.2m, a reduction of £50m and sales guidance for next year has been upped to between two and four per cent growth next year.
Why it's interesting
A takeover attempt by US firm McCormick was rebuffed last month in favour of a partnership with Japan's Nissin, which took a near 20 per cent stake. But that left shareholders unhappy as they missed out on a cash offer with a hefty premium.
Nissin's managing director Tsunao Kijima has been named a non-executive director on the company's board, it announced today.
What Premier Foods said
"We are very pleased to report sales growth both in the year and the fourth quarter in what continues to be a deflationary market. Our strategy of investing behind our brands and bringing new innovative products to market continues to deliver very positive results, with six of our major brands growing on average plus 3.4 per cent in the year. The Sweet Treats business reported sales growth in every quarter of the year while the International business also displayed excellent progress during the year with sales up 18 per cent," said chief executive Gavin Darby.