Premier Foods said today (7 March) that it has increased its 2005 full year operating profit by 18.2% on sales that were up 6%, boosted by the acquisition of Bird’s Quorn and Cauldron brands. Like-for-like grocery sales increased by 1.6%.

Sales totalled GBP789.7m (US$1.371bn) and operating profit was GBP95.3m, up from GBP80.6m in 2004.

In October 2005, Permier sold its tea business, including its Typhoo brand, to Indian company Apeejay Surrendra Group for GBP80m. In the same year, the company also acquired vegetarian food companies Cauldron and Quorn and Bird’s, one of Britain’s oldest grocery brands. 

Premier chief executive Robert Schofield said: “We have strengthened our brand portfolio through the acquisitions of Bird’s, Quorn and Cauldron and the sale of our tea business. This has improved our growth prospects by moving us into higher growth categories. The integration of these businesses has gone well and the brands have performed in line with our expectations.”

With considerable investment in marketing, like-for-like sales increased by 5.4% from 2004, to GBP94.9m. “We have invested heavily behind our brands, increasing our marketing spend on our existing brands by GBP5m, of which GBP3.5m was spent in the final quarter of 2005 launching our new Branston Beans,” Schofield said.