LONDON – Premier Foods, the company behind Mr. Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy, has said it will stockpile raw ingredients as fears rise that shipments could be delayed at United Kingdom ports if Britain leaves the bloc without securing a deal.
The British food manufacturer said it expects to book an extra 10 million pounds ($12.9 million) in working-capital costs in the fourth quarter as it begins building up stocks of raw materials to protect itself from potential supply risks posed by Brexit.
Premier Foods expects any negative cost movement to reverse in the following financial year when the situation normalizes.
In addition, Premier Foods said it has entered discussions with third parties to potentially offload its Ambrosia brand, a household name in the UK.
The group said the potential disposal of Ambrosia, which includes custard and rice pudding products, is aimed at reducing net debt, but has also said that the brand’s value declined in the second quarter due to prolonged hot weather in Britain.
The company said there is no guarantee that any transaction regarding Ambrosia will be completed but that it will keep investors updated.
The food manufacturer said the hot weather also hit sales of its gravy brand Bisto, and that both product ranges perform better when it is colder.
Premier Foods posted a loss before tax for the 26 weeks ended Sept. 29 of 2.2 million pounds compared with a loss of 1.2 million pounds the previous-year period.
Revenue rose 1.3 percent to 358 million pounds in the period, buoyed by a 5.6 percent increase in revenue from non-branded items.
The company booked financing costs of 32.9 million, up 23 percent on the previous-year period.
In addition, Chief Executive Gavin Darby has said he will step down on Jan. 31, 2019, and the company has already started looking for a successor.
“We have a strong innovation plan in place for the second half of the year, and profit expectations for the full year remain unchanged,” Darby said.