Premier Foods set to refinance debt

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PREMIER Foods is close to reaching an agreement to refinance its debt as part of a number of measures aimed at securing the company’s future.

Rapid expansion prior to the 2007 credit crunch left the company with high levels of debt that have led to speculation over its future.

According to a statement on Premier’s website, the agreement, due to be announced shortly, is expected to see £1 billion of loans renewed and the company’s repayment deadline extended for a further three years.

Premier Foods, which owns about 60 brands including Loyd Grossman, Ambrosia and Hovis, is currently pursuing a number of measures in order to combat its debt levels including selling off some brands and cutting around 600 jobs.

Michael Clarke, chief executive officer of Premier Foods, said: “We continue to deliver on our plans to stabilise the business and invest in our recovery and future growth.

“While decisions to reduce the workforce are always difficult, I’m convinced we are taking the right steps in the long term interests of the business, employees and our stakeholders.”

Premier Foods is focusing investment on eight power brands, including Loyd Grossman, whose range of sauces are made in the company’s Bury St Edmunds factory.

More than £50 million will spent on advertising the eight brands, which also include Hovis, Bisto, Mr Kipling and Oxo in the largest period of concentrated television advertising the company has ever launched.

As well as focusing on these eight power brands, Premier Foods is speeding up its divestiture of other products.

The company completed the sale of Brookes Avana chilled food and four Irish brands, including McDonnells, in December 2011.