Investor ups stake in Premier Foods

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Paulson & Co has upped its stake in Premier Foods
Paulson & Co has upped its stake in Premier Foods
US activist investor Paulson & Co has upped its stake in Mr Kipling and Batchelor brand owner Premier Foods to 11.9%.

The move has seen the New York-based investor increase its stake from 7%, asserting itself as the third-largest investor in the manufacturer – behind Nissin Foods (19.6%) and Oasis Management (17.3%).

Paulson’s increase in shares in Premier has come less than three months after the departure of former Premier chief executive Gavin Darby. Paulson had previously backed Oasis Management’s call for a new strategy for the business, as well as Darby’s removal.

Departures and disposals

Darby has since departed from the company – despite securing approval from Nissin – and was replaced by Alastair Murray last month. The company has since revealed plans to dispose of the Ambrosia brand.

In its third-quarter results, Premier saw sales drop​ despite continued growth of its key brands. Group sales were down 2.2% for the 13 weeks to 29 December 2018, attributed to deceased sales of lower-margin no-branded sweet treats.

Premier said: “The Sweet Treats business exited a number of lower-margin seasonal and non-seasonal cake contracts. In the Grocery business, non-branded sales increased 2.5% as contract wins in stuffing and cooking sauces were partly offset by lower sales at Knighton Foods.”​​

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