Premier Foods sells Branston pickles

Debt-laden food manufacturer Premier Foods announced the conditional sale of its sweet pickles and table sauces business to Japanese firm Mizkan Group for 92.5m pounds.

Debt-laden food manufacturer Premier Foods announced the conditional sale of its sweet pickles and table sauces business to Japanese firm Mizkan Group for 92.5m pounds.

The deal, which is subject to approval by Premier Foods' shareholders and consent from its banking syndicate, should be completed in 2013.

Premier Foods has sold several of its well known brands such as its Robertson's jam and Sarson's vinegar. This latest sale means the group will have delivered around £370m in disposal proceeds since March 2012, exceeding the £330m target by June 2014 as part of its new financing arrangements.

The disposals represent a reduction of approximately 30% in the company's net debt since the position reported at the half year, the group explained.

The latest disposal includes Branston sweet pickle, ketchup, relish, salad cream and mayonnaise, together with the company's Bury St Edmunds factory in Suffolk.

Following the completion of the disposal, all employees at the site are expected to transfer to Mizkan.

Premier Foods Chief Executive Officer Michael Clarke said: We have exceeded our disposal target 20 months early while at the same time delivering three successive quarters of sales growth and taking £40m of overhead costs out of the business this year."

"We can now focus our attention on driving further momentum in our Grocery business and unlocking value in Bread."

CJ

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