Revenues down at Premier Foods


Britain's largest food producer Premier Foods said revenues dropped in the third quarter as higher sales of its branded products were offset by declining volumes among its non-branded products.

The maker of Branston Pickle and Bisto gravy added that the trading environment had become increasingly tough.

"We still aim to make progress in the full year but the slowdown in the third quarter means this is likely to be more modest and is, as always, dependent on Christmas trading," chief executive Robert Schofield said in a statement.

Total group sales fell 4.2 per cent in the period to September 30th, although third-quarter sales of its "drive brands", which include Hovis bread and Mr Kiplings cakes, were up 7.9 percent.

Premier Foods is also one of Ireland’s largest food companies with a turnover of approximately €150m. It distributes a range of well known brands including Gateaux, Cadbury, Erin, Chivers and McDonnells, as well as breads and frozen foods.

The group said today it had completed a repricing in its grocery and Hovis bread businesses to adjust to a sharp rise in wheat prices.

Earlier this month, Premier Foods said it had received a bid approach for its meat-free business, including the Quorn brand.

Analysts expect Premier Food to report a full-year trading profit of £278 million compared with £323 million in 2009.

Shares in the FTSE 250-listed group closed at 18.75 pence yesterday, valuing the company at around "450 million.