Jan 16, 2018

Premier Foods serves up Christmas sales rise

Record sales of mince pies and overseas demand for Cadbury cakes boosted Christmas revenues at Premier Foods, the highly indebted UK group. This took the increase for the first nine months to 2.6 per cent, making revenues of £614.8m. Premier Foods shares rose as much as 5 per cent on Tuesday, before falling back to sit 3.5 per cent higher at 44.25p in early afternoon London trading. "If people had said a year ago that we'd be reporting a 4 per cent rise in sales this quarter, you'd have said that would be highly improbable," said Mr Darby. Nissin was originally drawn to Premier because of Batchelors, which it saw as a vehicle for expanding its noodle business in the UK. However, instead of buying the brand, it took a stake in Premier in 2016, around the same time as McCormick, the US spice maker, approached Premier with an informal 65p a share takeover offer. Premier's international sales in the third quarter were up 26 per cent, reflecting continued demand in Australia, where Cadbury's cakes have grown from "Nothing two years ago", according to Mr Darby, to take 10 per cent of the cake market.

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