By Margarita Snegireva. Premier Foods, the biggest food maker, said on Thursday its 2007 profit would be within the range of analysts' forecasts, but expected trading to remain competitive and impacted by higher raw-material costs.
The firm, which makes Hovis bread, Oxo stock cubes, Mr Kipling cakes and Branston pickle, said it had a satisfactory Christmas, with strong sales of cakes - particularly mince pies - offset by a weak performance from retailer branded products.
A spokeswoman said analysts forecasts for 2007 underlying profit ranged from 274 million pounds to 289 million.
Premier Foods' origins were in the canned food industry. The company began to take its current shape through a series of acquisitions of established businesses, starting in 1986 with the acquisition of some tea and non-confectionery foods businesses from Cadbury Schweppes which were grouped together under the name of Hillsdown Holdings. It was floated on the stock exchange in 2004. Premier's product range includes a wide range of the UK's most successful food brands, with category leading positions in areas such as jams, marmalades, gravy, stock, suet, custard and more.