Belfast Telegraph

Cakes rise at Mr Kipling as owner eyes turnaround

Sales at Mr Kipling have grown 22% in just two years, owner Premier Foods said.

Sales of Mr Kipling cakes rose 8% in the first half, owner Premier Foods said (Danny Lawson/PA)
Sales of Mr Kipling cakes rose 8% in the first half, owner Premier Foods said (Danny Lawson/PA)

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

The nation’s sweet tooth helped set Mr Kipling-maker Premier Foods on the road to recovery in the first half, with cake sales rising 8%.

The company, which also makes Oxo cubes and Ambrosia custard, performed better than expected in the six months to September 28, according to new chief executive Alex Whitehouse.

Boosted by an advertising push, Nissin instant noodles more than doubled sales on the same period last year to capture 4.8% of the pot snacks market.

“It’s a more authentic noodle than you’ll generally find in the market, and people come back again and again,” Mr Whitehouse said.

Mr Kipling’s growth followed on from a strong financial year ending in March. Compared with this time two years ago, the brand is selling an extra 22% more cakes across the UK.

Brexit fears prompted some customers to start stockpiling products, while cold weather in the second quarter of the financial year lifted Ambrosia.

Mr Whitehouse said the company has become “quite rehearsed” in preparing for Brexit deadlines, and has taken precautions.

With a better first half than planned, we are confident in our expectations for progress in the full year Alex Whitehouse, Premier Foods

“I’m encouraged by our strong start to the year,” Mr Whitehouse said. “Our biggest brand, Mr Kipling, has continued its momentum from last year, with sales growth of 8%, while sales of our Nissin branded ranges have more than doubled.

“We have launched a number of new product ranges, including our new plant-based brand Plantastic, and our international business returned to growth in the second quarter.”

He added: “With a better first half than planned, we are confident in our expectations for progress in the full year.”

The results give breathing room for the food-maker, which is in the middle of reviewing its business.

Mr Whitehouse announced plans to shake up his top team alongside the results.

He will get rid of the UK managing director and international managing director roles, and bring in a chief marketing officer, chief customer officer and an operations director.

“We see these as useful changes that should increase focus and accountability,” said Martin Deboo, an analyst at Jefferies.

He added: “Growth is both broad-based and strong in the right places. The road to recovery continues to be trod.”

Overall group revenue was up 2.4% to £366.7 million, while adjusted pre-tax profit rose 5% to £31.7 million. Shares were up nearly 8% on Tuesday morning to 36p.

PA

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