Premier Foods to split bread and grocery businesses

by Eric Schroeder
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LONDON — Premier Foods announced it is splitting its bread and grocery businesses into two separate divisions.

“The focus for grocery will be on continuing to build momentum behind the company’s branded portfolio, which represents 86% of total grocery sales,” the company said. “In bread, a more fundamental approach will be taken to help unlock future value and address the category challenges faced by this division. The company will, however, continue to preserve appropriate benefits of scale between the two divisions wherever they exist.”

In addition to the restructuring, Premier announced it has named Geoff Eaton as chief operating officer and executive director, reporting to Michael Clarke, chief executive officer. Mr. Eaton most recently was c.e.o. of Uniq P.L.C., which was acquired by Greencore Group P.L.C.

“We’ve achieved a great deal so far in 2012 in simultaneously driving growth in our power brands while delivering a highly complex restructuring and divestiture program,” Mr. Clarke said. “As we accelerate the next stage of our transformation, Geoff’s energy and experience will be critical in helping us unlock value in bread and build further momentum in our grocery division.”

The Bread division of Premier Foods P.L.C. posted profit of £22.5 million ($35.3 million) in the first half ended June 30, down 27% from £30.7 million in the first half of fiscal 2011. Total sales in the Bread division, excluding milling sales, fell 2% to £253.1 million ($396.7 million). Milling sales during the first half totaled £95.2 million ($149.3 million), down 8% from the same period a year ago.

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By Brian Moore 10/6/2012 1:38:43 PM
Readers may be interested in examining the implications of the bakery-grocery split at