Nov 10, 2020

Premier Foods upbeat as lockdown boosts demand

Premier Foods raised its full-year profit guidance as the maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy granules expected demand for its homely products to pick up during England's second lockdown. Trading profit, which excludes gains or losses related to financing or sale of assets, rose 29 per cent to £66m. Demand for Premier's products, which include desserts such as Ambrosia, Angel Delight and Bird's custard, was "Exceptional" in the half year, particularly during lockdown as more meals were consumed at home, chief executive Alex Whitehouse said on Tuesday. Analysts at Shore Capital called the debt reduction "Very encouraging" and noted that Premier had gained market share across all its food categories, including flavourings and seasonings, quick meals and snacks, as well as desserts and cakes. Last week, Premier sold its bread brand Hovis to private equity group Endless in a £37m deal. Households had in recent years been moving away from bread to perceived healthier options, but the Hovis business attracted multiple bids after the pandemic renewed consumers' demand for comfort foods and well-known brands.

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