Wednesday 19 September 2018

Premier Foods investor seeks removal of chief executive

Premier urged shareholders to back the food boss.

Gavin Darby is under pressure from an investor (Premier Foods/PA)
Gavin Darby is under pressure from an investor (Premier Foods/PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Premier Foods has warned over the prospect of a shareholder revolt aimed at ousting boss Gavin Darby.

The Mr Kiplings cake firm said on Thursday it has been made aware that Oasis Management, its second biggest investor, intends to vote against Mr Darby’s re-election at the firm’s annual meeting next month.

It added that Hong Kong-based Oasis, which owns 8.8% of Premier, “may encourage others to do the same”.

Premier urged shareholders to back the food boss.

Having regard to the best interests of the company's shareholders as a whole and its other stakeholders, the board unanimously recommends that shareholders vote in favour of Gavin Darby's re-election as the chief executive officer at the company's AGM Premier Foods

“Having regard to the best interests of the company’s shareholders as a whole and its other stakeholders, the board unanimously recommends that shareholders vote in favour of Gavin Darby’s re-election as the chief executive officer at the company’s AGM and will communicate further in due course.”

The disclosure comes weeks after Premier cooked up its strongest annual performance for five years, with its Batchelors brand helping drive sales.

Revenue rose 3.6% to £819.2 million in the 52 weeks to March 31, while pre-tax profit rocketed 74.2% to £20.9 million.

Mr Darby has been in the top job since 2013, but came under fire from some shareholders when Premier was the subject of a takeover bid from US firm McCormick in 2016.

The annual meeting takes place on July 18.

Shares closed down 0.3p at 39.5p on Thursday.

Press Association

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