Friday 16 November 2018

Batchelors not on the menu, Premier Foods says

The company, which is also behind Ambrosia custard and Bisto gravy, said it “regularly reviews options”.

Premier Foods profits down
Premier Foods profits down

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Premier Foods has played down reports that it is weighing up a potential sale of Batchelors, its Cup a Soup brand.

The company, which is also behind Ambrosia custard and Bisto gravy, said it “regularly reviews options”, adding that talks have not gone beyond an “exploratory stage”.

Premier was responding to reports over the weekend that Batchelors was being readied for a £200 million sale to its biggest shareholder, Japan’s Nissin.

“On 29 June 2017 the company confirmed that, in line with good corporate governance, it regularly reviews options to deliver value for all its stakeholders.

“Such reviews do periodically involve discussions with third parties, including Nissin.

“There is no current situation where discussions have gone beyond an exploratory stage,” the firm said.

In 2016, Premier rejected a £537 million takeover bid from the US company McCormick, choosing instead to form a strategic alliance with Nissin.

Since then the group, which has over £500 million of debt, has had to issue a profit warning linked to the Brexit-hit pound.

Premier added: “As a matter of normal good governance, the board continues to keep under review any options which could potentially add value for shareholders and other stakeholders, and accelerate the delivery of the Board’s strategic objectives, particularly with respect to reducing gearing.”

The group served up a half-year pre-tax loss of £1.2 million for the six months ending in September, a narrowing of the £8.7 million loss recorded for the same period last year.

Press Association

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