Thursday 22 February 2018

Shares slump in Premier on back of poor Q3 showing

Peter Flanagan

SHARES in Premier Foods collapsed yesterday after the food group issued a profit warning and said third quarter performance had been "significantly" below expectations.

The company, which employs more than 100 people in Dublin through Erin Soup and Chivers Jam, said total sales fell 3.6pc to £477m (€554m) while market share declined by 1.3pc during the quarter.

In response to the poor figures, the new company chief executive Michael Clarke said his firm would focus on "eight power brands", including Mr Kipling cakes and Hovis bread, and would look to sell some of its portfolio of lesser brands.

While Mr Clarke did not name the brands he would look to divest, it has been an open secret around The City that most of the group's portfolio is for sale at the right price.

Performance was down across the board, with volumes down in nearly every business the company operates in.

Whether any Irish companies will look to buy some of Premier's brands wasn't clear last night. Greencore was reported to have inquired about Premier's own label business, Brooks Avana, before it ultimately made a deal to buy the sandwich maker Uniq. Premier closed down 42pc at 5.8p.

Irish Independent

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