Daily Mail

Exceedingl­y good profits boost Mr Kipling owner

- John Abiona

INVESTORS in Premier Foods were in for a treat after the maker of Mr Kipling cakes raised its profit forecast for this year as business boomed.

The group, whose brands also include Ambrosia, Saxa and The Spice Tailor, said profit for the year to April 1 should be ahead of expectatio­ns at around £135m, up around 10pc on the previous year.

It said revenue growth for the final quarter should be at least 10pc up. Trading was driven by its grocery arm – home to brands such as Oxo cubes and Bisto.

The upbeat figures followed on from January, when Premier Foods reported its sales rose 12pc in the 13 weeks to December 31 compared to a year earlier. Peel Hunt analyst Charles Hall said the performanc­e was ‘encouragin­g’. It rose 10.4pc, or 12p, to 127p.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.1pc, or 10.31 points, to 7919.48 while the FTSE 250 was down 0.5pc, or 107.50 points, to 19956.61.

Sterling fell back below $1.19 against the dollar after the US

Federal Reserve warned interest rates will need to rise further than expected, boosting the dollar. Spirent Communicat­ions warned its revenue for this year would be lower than hoped as customers cut spending. The FTSE 250 firm, which tests 5G mobile and wifi networks, tumbled 14.5pc, or 30.5p, to 180.5p.

The slump came even though its revenue rose 5pc to £506.8m in 2022 while profits increased for the sixth year in a row.

Revolution Bars swung to a loss due to transport strikes and rising costs. The group, which owns 69 bars and 21 pubs, made a loss of £100,000 in the 26 weeks to December 31. It reported a £4.3m profit the year before. Sales rose 2.6pc to £76m but are down 6.8pc so far in the second half. Its shares sank 13.5pc, or 1.2p, to 7.7p.

The mood was not helped by Reach after the Daily Mirror owner warned trading remained tough. The newspaper publisher posted lower revenue and profit for the year to Christmas Day after its costs jumped 40pc while advertisin­g demand weakened. It fell 14pc, or 12.65p, to 78p.

Over at Aston Martin, the luxury car maker’s rally showed little sign of running out of steam. It rose 7.6pc, or 20.9p, to 297p after Bernstein hiked its target price to 300p from 180p. Shares are up around 90pc this year.

WPP fell 0.7pc, or 7.5p, to 1025p after the advertisin­g giant bought German healthcare specialist PR agency 3K Communicat­ion.

It was a day to remember for IWG after the office space provider reported its highest revenue ever. Increased demand for flexible working helped its revenue soar 24pc to £3.1bn last year.

It posted a profit of £147m for 2022 having reported a loss of £87m a year earlier. Shares were up 2pc, or 3.8p, to 192.05p.

Axel Springer, the largest shareholde­r at Purplebric­ks, said its representa­tive on the online estate agent’s board has stepped down to ensure the process of finding a buyer is fair. Shares fell 12.5pc, or 1.19p, to 8.31p.

Rio Tinto has agreed to pay £12.65m to settle a US Securities and Exchange Commission investigat­ion into contractua­l payments made to a former consultant more than a decade ago. It slid 1.3pc, or 78p, to 5894p.

Estate agent Foxtons cashed in on higher rental prices last year but warned higher interest rates were taking their toll on the housing market. Shares rose 2.2pc, or 0.9p, to 42.1p. H&T, the UK’s largest pawnbroker, clocked up record online sales in January, hitting £1m in a month for the first time. It slipped 0.4pc, or 2p, to 449p.

Just Group surged 11.1pc, or 9.1p, to 91p after its profit of £336m last year was 35pc higher than analysts expected.

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