Mr Kipling maker crumbles to £42.7m loss

Permier Foods hit by pension charges and restructuring costs

Full-year revenues rose 0.6 per cent to £824.3 million, as it was buoyed by 12 per cent sales growth for Mr Kipling.

Full-year revenues rose 0.6 per cent to £824.3 million, as it was buoyed by 12 per cent sales growth for Mr Kipling.

 

Mr Kipling maker Premier Foods slid to a £42.7 million (€49.5 million) annual loss as it was hammered by pension charges and restructuring costs.

The food manufacturer slipped to a pre-tax loss for the year to March 2019 from a £20.9 million profit the previous year.

The food group, which also produces Ambrosia custard and Bisto gravy, saw profitability particularly impacted by an anti-discrimination ruling on women’s pensions by the High Court last year.

Profits were also dented by a £30.6 million impairment charge related to its Sharwood’s and Saxa brands.

Full-year revenues rose 0.6 per cent to £824.3 million, as it was buoyed by 12 per cent sales growth for Mr Kipling.

It also hailed “strong performances” by Ambrosia, Batchelors, Sharwood’s and its Soba noodles joint venture with Japanese food giant Nissin, the largest shareholder in Premier.

Sales were buoyed by accelerating growth in the fourth quarter, when it saw 3.1 per cent growth compared the same period last year, as it benefited from customers building stock ahead of the original Brexit deadline.

Premier’s international business saw revenues dive 12.5 per cent over the year, as it was impacted lower export volumes and overstocking of Cadbury cakes.

It also said today that it will launch a new brand called Plantastic as it becomes the latest food group to target plant-based and vegan trends.

Premier has been weighing brand disposal to reduce its net debt, which had fallen 5 per cent to £469.9 million at the end of the year.

The results come three months after Premier launched a strategic review, bowing to pressure from investors Oasis and Paulson, who own more than 20 per cent of the group and had called for a radical shake-up.– Reuters