Premier Foods to double marketing spend to £41m

Premier Foods plans to double marketing spend behind its power brands this year as part of its long term recovery plan to improve the business performance, while slashing costs in other areas.

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The company outlined its “Power Brand” strategy to focus on Hovis, Ambrosia, Mr. Kipling, Sharwood’s, Loyd Grossman, Bisto, Oxo and Batchelors last year as part of a restructure that saw the business split into two divisions and the group chief operating officer role axed.

The company will launch TV ad campaigns for six of the eight brands within the first quarter of the year in a bid to boost brand engagement and sales and says the ad campaigns will “spearhead a full programme of new product innovation, promotions and marketing” throughout the year.

Premier spent £19.9m in 2011, according to internal figures, and plans to invest £41.3m in 2012.

The food company is mired in debt following a number of costly acquisitions in previous years and has struggled to repay its £850m debts. It’s banks recently granted the company extra time to negotiate its finances.

Premier expects to double its £20m cost reduction target by 2013 by creating a stronger and more efficient business to drive its recovery and growth plans.

It will review every aspect of costs and expects to introduce a number of cost saving initiatives this year, including reducing the workforce by 5%.

It is looking to sell off a number of brands to reduce the company’s debt and has already sold its Quorn, Brookes Avana chilled food business and four Irish grocery brands.

CEO Michael Clarke says: “We continue to deliver on our plans to stabilise the business and invest in our recovery and future growth. While decisions to reduce the workforce are always difficult, I’m convinced we are taking the right steps in the long term interests of the business, employees and our stakeholders.”

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