Friday 23 August 2019

Bisto owner sees Irish sales sink as Brexit stocks unwind

Bisto is owned by Premier Foods. Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
Bisto is owned by Premier Foods. Photo: Ronan Lang/Feature File
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Premier Foods, the UK firm that owns brands from Mr Kipling to Bisto, said its international sales plunged 18pc in the first quarter of its financial year, as Irish business customers unwound stockpiles built up in advance of the original March Brexit date.

It is the latest evidence of the widespread stockpiling in the run-up to the planned March 29 Brexit date, when it appeared that a hard exit from the EU was increasingly likely.

Releasing a trading update yesterday, Premier Foods said its international sales in the first quarter were held back by the slower sales in Ireland.

"This was due to the unwind of Brexit-related stock in Irish customers' supply chains," it told investors.

"The international business is, however, expected to return to sales growth in subsequent quarters."

Premier also owns brands such as Loyd Grossman and Bird's Custard, while it produces a range of treat-sized cakes using Cadbury branding.

Irish food group Greencore was among the businesses that stockpiled some items in the run-up to the proposed March Brexit date - which has now been postponed to October 31.

Greencore, the world's biggest sandwich maker, had stockpiled ingredients such as frozen prawns.

Bulmers maker C&C had stockpiled €3m worth of cider in the UK prior to the original March Brexit date.

Its Bibendum distribution unit in the UK had stockpiled between €3m and €4m worth of fine wines.

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