Premier Foods plc, the UK company behind brands from Mr Kipling cakes to Bisto gravy, has played down reports claiming the company has embarked on a “strategic review”.
The Wall Street Journal said yesterday (29 June) Premier had started the review to consider its options just over a year after turning down a takeover offer from US spices and condiments group McCormick & Co.
However, Premier responded by issuing a short statement to the London Stock Exchange during the afternoon UK time.
“In line with good corporate governance, the group regularly reviews options to deliver value for all its stakeholders,” Premier said. “These reviews are carried out in the ordinary course of business as part of the group’s standard planning cycle and also on ad hoc bases, and may involve external advisors. The board has made no changes to its strategy since the strategic update communicated in our preliminary results announcement on 16 May 2017. The company will release its first-quarter trading update for the year ending 31 March 2018 on 20 July 2017, as planned.”
Premier’s shares have fallen by more than a third since McCormick, after seeing the company turn down three takeover proposals, walked away from the table in April last year.
So far in 2017, Premier’s share price has, at the time of writing, slid by more than 15%. In the wake of the WSJ report yesterday, Premier’s stock price jumped before closing down 0.6% at 39.75p. McCormick’s last indicative offer was worth 65p a share.
Last month, Premier reported increases in annual revenue and operating profit but declines in its underlying sales and net earnings. The company indicated it would up its focus on controlling costs and generating cash.