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Mr Kipling-owner Premier Foods to bring back dividend for first time in 13 years

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Photo: Premier Foods
The company gained 4.5 million new customers during the cornavirus pandemic as Brits got more creative in the kitchen. Photo: Premier Foods

Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods (PFD.L) posted an "outstanding" year driven by more at home-food consumption during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The company, which also owns Bisto and Oxo, also announced it is reinstating a final dividend of 1 pence-per-share for the first time in 13 years.

Premier Foods said the move came after it made significant progress in delivering its strategy, which saw the FTSE 250 (^FTMC) firm reduce net debt. Net debt was £332m ($470m) at the end of the 53 weeks to 3 April, down from £408m the previous year.

In its preliminary full-year results, adjusted pre-tax profit increased 23.5% from the year prior to £115m ($163m). Revenue rose 10.3% to £934m. Within that, branded revenue was 13.6% in the full year and ahead 7% in quarter four.

Demand for Premier Foods brands rose significantly in the year, as the company remained fully operational throughout the coronavirus crisis. This saw Premier Foods gain 4.5 million new customers during the period, as Brits got more creative in the kitchen. 

"Overall, the group's consumer base expanded this year, as a result of more people cooking from home, experimenting with new recipes and expanding their repertoire of meals," Premier Foods said.

It said its Bisto, Oxo, Ambrosia, Sharwood’s Homepride, Paxo and Nissin performed particularly well.

Chart: Yahoo Finance
Chart: Yahoo Finance

Online sale "more than doubled", CEO Alex Whitehouse said.

"Sales of our brands online more than doubled and our continued focus on this channel led to further market share gains. In overseas markets we are now clearly seeing the benefits of last year’s change in strategy with double digit growth in each quarter and 23% in the full year."

Shares in the company were up 1.9% on Wednesday morning.

Read more: UK vaccine rollout and lockdown easing lifts services sector to 14-month high

"Throughout the year, we continued to drive our branded growth model, launching a series of new product ranges, including many healthy options such as Sharwood's low sugar stir fry sauces and increasing marketing investment with six of our major brands benefitting from TV advertising," White house added. "This, along with a robust performance from our supply chain, ensured we delivered growth ahead of the market."

Looking ahead, it plans to launch new products and advertise six of its largest brands on TV, while it continues to expand overseas.

Watch: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?