Premier Foods profits fall expected

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Premier Foods is expected to announce a decline in profits on Tuesday

Hovis-to-Mr Kipling firm Premier Foods is expected to reveal a decline in profits on Tuesday as the firm battles intense competition in the grocery market.

The UK’s biggest food manufacturer, whose shares nearly halved in value in 2010, is forecast to report a 2% decline in trading profits to £303 million in the year, according to analysts.

The results are expected to reveal an improvement on the first half of the year when trading profits declined by 6%.

The past year has seen the company, which owns brands including Sharwood’s, Bisto and Ambrosia, struggle to pass on the rising cost of ingredients to its supermarket customers in an increasingly competitive market.

Meanwhile, chocolatier Thorntons is likely to reveal how much the snow chaos in December wiped off its profits when it updates the market with its half-year results on Wednesday.

The retailer said the Arctic weather cost it £3.5 million in lost sales in the key Christmas trading period, as shoppers opted to stay at home rather than brave icy high streets to reach its stores, although it gave no estimate for how badly profits were hit.

The City will be looking for an update on bookmaker Ladbrokes’ plans to buy online gambling firm 888 Holdings when it publishes its final results on Thursday.

Both sides have confirmed talks are going ahead but reports have suggested the discussions have hit difficulties over the proposed price. Ladbrokes’s full-year results are expected to show underlying earnings of around £190 million.

Embattled sportswear firm JJB Sports will seek approval for its plans to raise £31.5 million when it holds a special meeting of shareholders on Friday.

JJB, which employs 6,300 staff in more than 250 stores, has turned to Harris Associates and Crystal Amber, the company’s two largest shareholders, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust to raise the sum.

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