Falling profits for Premier Foods as company battles soaring costs

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Mr Kipling cakes firm Premier Foods has served up falling full year profits as the company battles soaring costs.

The group said adjusted pre-tax profit fell 11.8% to £74.2 million in the year to April 1, down from £84.2 million in 2016.

Underlying revenue fell 1.4% to £790.4 million in the period, with chief executive Gavin Darby flagging a "challenging year" as he updated the group's strategy.

He said: "This financial year has been a challenging one for the industry, with the return of food inflation and changing retailer promotional strategies.

"With the industry changing rapidly, we have updated our strategy to give an equal focus to revenue growth, cost efficiencies and cash generation.

"In the UK, growing ahead of our categories continues to be a core objective for us and our plans for international are for further strong growth."

The group, which also owns a raft of household brands including Oxo and Batchelors, has been stung with surging costs of commodities such as sugar, chocolate, dairy, wheat and palm oil, as well as the collapse in the pound.

In January, the firm warned that annual profits would be around 10% lower than expected and unveiled a "substantial" cost-cutting plan, weeks after confirming it was in talks with supermarket giants and retailers over price hikes.

Premier said it would take a "blended approach" to managing cost increases, including looking at "limited price increases where these cannot be avoided".

Plans to slash costs throughout its supply chain are expected to yield £20 million over the next two years, the firm added.

Shares were up 1.16% to 43.5p in morning trading.