Premier Foods Plc, the maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy, on Thursday named Finance Chief Alastair Murray as acting chief executive officer, as it looks for a permanent replacement for ousted boss Gavin Darby.
The company had said in November that Darby would step down on Jan. 31, following pressure from activist hedge fund Oasis Management.
The Oxo-cube maker said its third-quarter revenue fell 2.2%, on lower sales at its lower margin non-branded Sweet Treats unit, but stuck to its forecast for full-year trading profit and adjusted earnings per share.
Third quarter UK grocery sales, excluding International sales, were up 2.7%, with the group posting ‘market share gains in major brands’.
Its Mr Kipling brand was a strong performer, with sales up 5% in the third quarter, and 10% in the year to date.
“Our third quarter of the year saw resilient trading through the key Christmas period in UK Grocery and Branded Sweet Treats with our top 5 brands all growing market share,” outgoing CEO Darby commented.
“We faced into two sets of challenges in the quarter – lower International sales and our logistics programme, which as expected, affected cake sales volumes early in the quarter. As we look to the fourth quarter, we expect to see a good performance from Branded Sweet Treats, we have a good innovation plan lined up and our expectations for trading profit and adjusted eps for the full year are unchanged.”
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