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Food giant behind Angel Delight and Bisto brands, celebrates major revenue growth

By Chris Britcher

Premier Foods has reported its strongest revenue growth for over five years, according to its latest financial report.

The company, operator of the Batchelors factory in Ashford, which produces familiar brands such as Angel Delight, Birds, Bisto, McDougalls and Paxo, said revenue rose by 3.6% to £819.2million in the year to the end of March.

Pre-tax profits were also up 74% to £21m.

The Batchelors factory in Ashford - home of some of Britain's best known brands
The Batchelors factory in Ashford - home of some of Britain's best known brands

That puts its ahead of its revenue and trading profit market expectations for the full year.

Gavin Darby, Premier Foods' chief executive officer, said: "We are pleased to report revenue growth of 3.6%, our strongest performance for over five years. After a slower start in the first quarter, performance accelerated during the year as planned, with revenue in the second half up 5.3% and 7% higher in quarter four.

"Three important drivers of this performance were innovation, our international business and our strategic partnerships with [Japanese instant noodle giant] Nissin and [American confectionary multinational] Mondelez International.

The Batchelors factory in Kennington, Ashford
The Batchelors factory in Kennington, Ashford

"International has been the star performer with sales growing 25%, and are almost double the level of three years ago, while the benefits from our Nissin and Mondelez International partnerships together contributed 55% of our revenue growth.

"The Batchelors brand is now the fastest growing in our portfolio having been turned around from decline three years ago to double-digit growth for the past year. This followed the launch of new products designed to meet consumer trends such as Batchelors Super Noodles pots, which sold over 13 million pots in the past year."

Earlier this year, Premier Foods played down speculation it was considering selling its Batchelors arm to Nissin.

The Ashford factory on the Kennington Road, has been operating for more than 60 years, but faced the threat of closure just 11 years ago.

After buying the site from Campbell's, Premier Food originally planned to close it. But then, instead, opted to expand it, ploughing some £20m into the site over the following three years, trebling its output and recruiting 180 extra staff.

It now employs 360 people.

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