Premier Foods cuts debt to £900m

Premier Foods has cut its debt mountain to below £1bn, as the food manufacturer posted better-than-expected profits.

The company has recently sold its Quorn meat-free business and its canned grocery operation, including the Crosse & Blackwell brand, for a combined £387m in order to cut its debt burden.

Premierís shares rose by 8% as it said its net debt, which stood at £1.4bn in June after a takeover binge in recent years, had been reduced to less than £900m following the sell-off.

The St Albans-based company revealed a slight increase in trading profits to £311m in 2010. Sales fell by 3.5% to £2.6bn as supermarket own-label revenues declined.

Premier has been forced to put up prices throughout its business in the past year as it battled commodity price inflation.

>> Premier sells canned goods business for £182m

>> Management changes at Premier Foods