New Premier division focusing on select brands and markets

New Premier division focusing on select brands and markets

Premier Foods plc has established an independent business unit that will focus on supporting growth overseas, chief executive Gavin Darby revealed today (22 July).

Darby said the UK firm's board approved the formation of an overseas division "in the last few weeks".

"Internationally really has not been a focus for Premier. It has been at best an export business," he said. "We have agreed with the board in the last few weeks the setting up of a dedicated strategic business unit to focus on international."

The group has "just" reopened its business in Ireland with a small office there. Priority markets include the US and China, as well as Australia and New Zealand, while the company is putting its energies behind certain brands, Darby told just-food.

"We are focusing on Sharwood's in the US, Ambrosia in China and Cadbury [under licence] in Asia Pacific," he said.

Darby declined to provide sales targets for Premier's business outside the UK, which accounts for around 5% of the group's revenue.

Earlier today, Premier booked a 6.1% drop in half-year underlying sales as its brands struggled in the face of soft category trends in the UK.

In the short term, Premier said it is focused on investing in innovation and marketing to turn around its UK sales. However, Darby insisted he expects international to represent an "engine for future growth" in the long term.