Premier Foods: posts H1/2009 figures

London / UK. (pf) Premier Foods PLC, the baker of Hovis bread and Mr. Kipling cakes, said it aimed to meet full-year profit forecasts after posting a first-half loss on costs related to foreign-exchange hedging and pension financing. The net loss for the six months to June 27 was 35,9 million GBP or a loss of 0,02 GBP per share, compared with net income of 1,3 million GBP or 0,01 GBP in the same period a year earlier. Revenue climbed 3,5 percent to 1,25 billion GBP.

Cost inflation, the strengthening of the British Pound relative to the US-Dollar and Euro, and «a movement in the pension financing adjustment» hurt earnings, the company said in a Regulatory News Service statement on August 05.

Financial highlights

  • Group turnover up 3,5 percent to 1’248,2 million GBP
  • Group turnover excluding bulk flour up 6,2 percent
  • Group trading profit up 5,6 percent to 123,6 million GBP
  • Group operating profit 26,8 million GBP (H1/2008: 46,2 million GBP)
  • Net debt reduced to 1’475 million GBP (June 2008: 1’806 million GBP) following successful fund raising
  • On course to deliver our full year profit expectations

Operational highlights

  • Premier´s Grocery division gains 1,6 ppts market share in tough trading environment
  • Key Grocery brands grew sales by 8,3 percent:
    • Sales of Branston up 41 percent
    • Sales of Loyd Grossman up 35 percent
    • Sales of Batchelors up 14 percent
    • Sales of Hartley´s up 12 percent
  • Successful relaunch of Hovis bread continues
    • Sales up 17 percent
    • Market share up 3,6 ppts to 26,3 percent; highest level for over two years

CEO Robert Schofield: «Now that we have substantially completed the integration of RHM and Campbell´s and successfully refinanced the Group, we have been able to embark on targeted investment behind our key market-leading brands. Against the backdrop of an exceptionally tough trading environment, we are pleased with our progress with increased market share through co-ordinated programmes of innovation, advertising and promotional activity. We are delighted by the continued success of Hovis which has grown its sales by 17 percent and reached its highest market share for over two years. We expect the consumer environment to remain tough but we will continue to invest in and support our brands to drive market share growth. Cost inflation remains an issue which we will continue to offset through pricing and efficiency savings. Our integration programme, which is nearing completion, remains on track. We continue to focus on cash generation and debt reduction and we are on course to deliver our full year profit expectations» (source).

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