Sector News

Premier Foods plays down reports of Batchelors' sale

January 16, 2018
Food & Drink

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 £200m 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 £537m takeover bid from the US company McCormick, choosing instead to form a strategic alliance with Nissin.

Since then the group, which has over £500m 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 £1.2m for the six months ending in September, a narrowing of the £8.7m loss recorded for the same period last year.

By Ravender Sembhy

Source: The Independent online

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