Half-year boost for Premier Foods despite "challenging" first quarter

'Solid' progress for Premier Foods

'Solid' progress for Premier Foods

Adjusted pre-tax profits rose to £26.4m for the six months ending in September, up from £26.3m for the period in 2016.

The food manufacturer's revenues climbed 1.5pc to £353.5m in the 26 weeks to September 30, while it posted a slender profit of £300,000, compared to a £55.6m loss a year ago.

Darby said a strong performance in the second quarter, with sales up 6.2%, helped to offset a "challenging" first quarter. Branded revenue increased by 5.7% to GBP152.3 million, and Non-branded revenue grew by 8.9% to GBP30.9 million.

In May this year Premier Foods signed a deal with Mondelēz worldwide to renew the company's long-standing licence to produce and market Cadbury-branded cake.

"Overall, we continue to expect the business to make progress in the second half of the year and our expectations for the full year remain unchanged", Mr Darby said.

Like all food producers operating out of the UK, Premier has experienced a rise in input costs over the past year.

Net debt at the firm was £535.3 million, a £20.7 million improvement on the previous year, the company said.

Operating profit rose 2.3% in the period to GBP22.5 million from GBP22.0 million a year ago, whilst adjusted pretax profit rose to GBP26.4 million from GBP26.3 million.

Net debt fell to GBP535.3 million in the first half from GBP556.0 million in the prior year period.

Over 40 per cent of the strong growth in the second quarter was a result of Premiers strategic partnerships with Nissin and Mondelez International.

"The cost efficiency programme we launched earlier this year is on track to deliver the expected benefits". We completed the issue of a new GBP210 million high yield bond in June and our net debt was GBP21 million lower than the same point previous year; a little ahead of our plans.

Shares were up 6.1 per cent in early trading.

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