Premier Foods plc

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Premier Foods manufactures and distributes a range of branded and own label food and beverage products across many categories. The company sells to food processors, retailers, food service operators and plant bakeries in the UK and worldwide.


  • OXO, Batchelors
  • Rank Hovis brands: Atora shredded suet, Bisto gravy, Be-Ro flour, Cadbury's cakes (mnf under licence), Cerebos salt, Frank Cooper's jams, Hovis bread and flour, McDougalls flour and cake mixes, Mother's Pride bread, Mr Kipling cakes, Paxo stuffing, Robertson's jams, Rombouts coffee, Saxa salt, Sharwood's Indian, Chinese and SE Asian sauces. ref
  • Kenco, Typhoo Tea, Kenco, Melroses, Glengettie, Ridgways, Smash and Chivers Hartley range of jams, marmalades and canned fruits, plus the production licence for Cadbury brand biscuits and drinking chocolate.ref
  • Hovis-2015.svg
    Hovis, jointly owned by American private equity firm Gores Group LLC (51%) and Premier Foods (49%).ref



Total float: 79%
Source: MarketScreener.svg, Mar.2020


ToDo: Company Reports + CH
  • Premier Foods plc, prev. Premier Foods Investments Ltd, OpenCorporates-sm.svg; prev. Premier Foods (Holdings) Ltd, Hillsdown Holdings Ltd, OpenCorporates-sm.svg
    • Premier Financing Ltd, [CH]
      • Premier Brands Ltd (Chivers Hartley, Horizon Biscuits, Hillsdown Holland BV)
      • Premier Brands UK Ltd (Melroses, Ridgways, Premier Brands Inc)
  • Hovis: Joint Venture between Premier Foods (49%) and USA private equity firm Gores Group LLC (51%).


ToDo: Our history, Our history (, History, Grace's Guide, AdBrands archive, AdBrands, Kainos webpage, todo, todo

Premier Foods plc

  • Jul.2018: Sold Batchelors ...
  • May.2016: Knighton Foods Ltd: Premier Foods bought out Specialty Powders Holdings Ltd's 51% stake in the JV. AR-Apr.2016
  • Jun.2014: Knighton Foods Ltd: after disappointing sales,ref Premier Foods (49%) and privately-owned Specialty Powders Holdings LtdOpenCorporates-sm.svg (51%) formed a joint venture to manufacture and pack powdered beverages and desserts at Premier Foods' Knighton factory in Staffordshire.ref,ref Bird’s Custard, Angel Delight, and Marvel dried milk powder were contributed by Premier Foods. Website
  • Apr.2014:
    Hovis: Premier Foods (49%) entered into a joint venture with USA private equity firm Gores Group LLC (51%) for the Hovis brand.ref,ref
  • Oct.2012: Robertson's jams, Hartley's jams + Histon factory + Sun-Pat peanut butter + Frank Cooper + Keiller + Glas > USA company Hain Celestial Group Inc. Hain Celestial GroupWikipedia-W.svg, ref,HainDaniels, Robertson's, [Hartley's]
  • Oct.2012: Branston: Premier announced the sale of the Branston range plus the Suffolk factory to Japanese food manufacturer Mizkan Holdings Company Ltd. The deal included Sarson's vinegar and Hayward's pickled onions.ref
  • Mar.2011:
    Quorn-Foods-2011.svg Cauldron-Foods.svgDeals-Arrow-Right.svg
    Quorn and Cauldron were sold to Exponent Private Equity LLP[1] and Intermediate Capital Group plc[2].ref,ref
  • 2010: Canned Food business was sold to Princes.
  • Apr.2009: Frozen Bakery business, including Martine Specialites, Le Pain Croustillant and Sofrapain, was sold to Nutrixo.ref
  • Mar.2007: RHM plc (Rank Hovis McDougall plc) was acquired, along with a multiplicity of brands such as Hovis, Sharwoods, Cadbury cakes, Bisto and Mr Kipling..ref Ranks Hovis McDougallWikipedia-W.svg, RHM GraduateArchive-org-sm.svg,, rankhovis.comArchive-org-sm.svg, rhm.comArchive-org-sm.svg
  • Aug.2006: Oxo gravy, Batchelors, Homepride and Fray Bentos meat pies were acquired from the Campbell Soup Company.ref,ref,ref,HomeprideArchive-org-sm.svg,
  • Sept.2005: FW Gedneys (Monument (GB) Ltd) was acquired to extend the potatoes business.
  • Oct.2005: Tea business, including Typhoo Tea, Fruit & Herb, Lift and QT, was sold to India's Apeejay Surrendra Group,ref,ref controlled by the Paul Family.ref See also Refreshing tea firm's profits..
  • Nov.2005:
    Cauldron Foods Ltd, a tofu-based meat alternative, was acquired from from Rayner & Company (Investments) Ltd.ref Quorn and Cauldron's operations were combined into "Marlow Foods Ltd", t/a "Quorn Foods".ref,CH Cauldron's tofu production was outsourced, and staff numbers slashed.ref
  • Jun.2005:
    Quorn: Marlow Foods Holdings Ltd, holdco for the meat alternative brand, was acquired from Montagu Private Equity LLP.ref,ref Montagu had purchased Marlow Foods, including the Quorn business and associated trademarks and patents, from AstraZeneca in Jun.2004.ref
  • Feb.2005: Bird's Eye, the ambient desserts business, was acquired from Kraft Foods UK Ltd (Premier Ambient Products (UK) Ltd). Comprised Bird's Custard and Angel Delight instant dessert.AR-Dec.2004
  • Jul.2004: Premier Foods plc was incorporated, and started trading on the London Stock Exchange. OpenCorporates-sm.svg

Premier Foods Ltd

Premier International Foods

  • May.2002: Nestlé's Ambient Food business was acquired. Brands: Branston pickle, Chivers (marmalade), Crosse & Blackwell, Gale's (honey), Rowntree (jelly), Sarson's (vinegar), and Sun-Pat (peanut butter).ref,ref
  • Apr.2002: Cadbury Ltd licensed Premier Foods to manufacture and sell some products under the Cadbury trademark.
  • Oct.2001: Nelsons, a jam and marmalade business in Aintree, was acquired by Chivers Hartley LtdOpenCorporates-sm.svg from Associated British Foods. In Jan.2002, the factory was closed down with the loss of 100+ jobs when production was moved to Cambridgeshire. ref
  • Sept.2001: Lift Lemon Tea was purchased from Northern Foods Ltd.ref
  • Aug.1999: Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc, a USA private equity firm, acquired the company,ref and set about streamlining it, cutting ~2,000 jobs with a view to creating the lowest-cost food manufacturer in the UK. The poultry unit was sold off to private equity firm BC Partners; the furniture operations were separated out; and the foods business was divided into:
    • Premier International Foods (grocery). Five lines were created: vegetable canning, Typhoo tea, Cadbury hot beverages, Hartley's and Chivers fruits and spreads, and Pickles & Sauces.
    • Burton's Foods (biscuits).ref

Hillsdown Holdings Ltd

Hillsdown Holdings was a UK holdco whose principal interests were in the food industry. Its activities encompassed the processing and distribution of meat, poultry and eggs, the breeding and rearing of poultry, eggs and other livestock, the canning and freezing of of fruit and vegetables and the distribution of imported food products. Other group activities included the supply of contract stationery and office equipment, furniture manufacturing and plywood distribution.AR-Jul.1986

  • Jul.1999: Premier Fresh Foods Ltd: Premier Poultry Ltd changed its name, and was sold to HMTF Poultry LtdOpenCorporates-sm.svg, ultimately owned by HMTF Premier Ltd, reg. Cayman Islands. (probably an offshore Hicks, Muse holdco.)
  • Jul.1999: Hillsdown Holdings Ltd: the company re-registered as a private limited company.

Hillsdown Holdings plc

  • Jun.1999: Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc took over Hillsdown Holdings plc.[1]
  • 1998: Chivers Hartley Ltd, Hillsdown Holland BV, the Horizon Biscuit Company acquired.
  • 1997: Argent Foods Ltd: a number of assets were purchased by ??, and combined to form a new company,
  • Mar.1996: HP Canned Foods business was acquired.ref
  • Dec.1994: Lyons Biscuits Ltd was bought from Allied Domecq plc/J Lyons & Company.ref
  • 1994: Lloyd Grossman granted Premier Foods a licence to produce the Lloyd Grossman brand of cooking sauces under licence.ref,ref
  • Oct.1994: FE Barber stock, plant and machinery was acquired. FE Barber was previously the Co-operative Wholesale Society, Lowestoft.
  • 1991: Anglia Canners Ltd was acquired from Associated British Foods plc. The canneries at King’s Lynn and Brechin were later closed, and capacity transferred to Long Sutton and Wisbech.
  • 1991: Pet Food division was sold to BP Nutrition (UK) Ltd,OpenCorporates-sm.svg a subsidiary of Nutreco NV,OpenCorporates-sm.svg a Dutch producer of animal nutrition, fish feed and processed meat products. Nutreco is itself owned by SHV Holdings NV,OpenCorporates-sm.svg, a privately-owned Dutch trading company, one of the world's largest trading groups.,, SHV
  • 1991: British Fish Canners (Fraserburgh) Ltd was sold to ??
  • Jun.1989: Premier Brands Ltd, a new company formed in May.1986 when Cadbury Schweppes' Foods and Other Products division was the subject of a management buyout, was acquired. Typhoo Tea, Kenco, Smash instant mashed potato, and Hartley Chivers were part of the division, as well as the licence for production of Cadbury brand biscuits and drinking chocolate.ref Premier Brands went on to acquire Scottish tea company Melrose's, the Glengettie Tea Company, Ridgeways, Jersey Trading Corporation Srl, and London Herb & Spice.ref,AR-Dec.1989 The company was delisted and taken private.AR-Dec.1998
  • 1989 Haywards Pickles of Bury St Edmunds was purchased from Brooke Bond & Company.
  • Jun.1988: Ludwig Schwarz & Company GmbH was acquired; sold in Mar.1989 to ??.
  • Apr.1988: Pickerings Foods Ltd, a fruit and vegetable canning company, was acquired from Heinz.
  • Mar.1988: London Herb & Spice company Ltd acquired.
  • Feb.1988: Allinson brand name on biscuits and breakfast cereals: worldwide rights acquired.
  • Mar.1987: Glengettie Tea Company acquired.
  • Jan.1987: Kenco Coffee Company Ltd was sold to General Foods Corporation.
  • Nov.1986: Melroses Ltd acquired.
  • Dec.1986: Beecham Group plc's fruit and vegetable canning operation was acquired.ref
  • 1986: Morton’s, producing a range of fruit fillings, seasonal vegetables and processed peas, was acquired from Beecham Group plc. The factory at Lowestoft was later closed.
  • Mar.1986: John Morrell & Company Ltd, a canner of fruit, vegetables and pet food, was acquired. The factory at Bardney, Lincs was changed to canning pet food only.
  • 1985: Robert Wilson’s, a meat canning business based at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, was acquired.
  • ?date?: British Fish Canners (Fraserburgh) Ltd
  • ~1984: Hillsdown Holdings plc: the company re-registered as a public limited company.

Hillsdown Holdings Ltd Mk.I

  • Mar.1983: TKM Foods Ltd was acquired from Imperial Foods, the food division of Imperial Group Ltd.OpenCorporates-sm.svg The transaction included Smedley’s canned and frozen fruit and vegetables, a factory at Wisbech, and a cannery at Maldon. The frozen fruit and vegetable activities were subsequently disposed of, and the cannery closed. TKM Foods Ltd was later renamed Smedleys.ref
  • 1982: Ross Breeders Ltd, poultry, was acquired.ref,CH
  • 1982: Imperial Group Ltd's UK chicken and egg, animal feed, and meat trading operations was acquired. The purchase included Allied Farm Foods, Buxted Chicken, Eastwood Thompson, and JB Eastwood.[The Times, Jul 09, 1982]
  • ?dates?: Cartwright Brice & Co. Ltd; Uniflex Holdings Ltd; Bortel Properties (London) Ltd; Wilkinsons Furniture Ltd; Henry Telfer; FMC Ltd; Ross Group; Towers Meat; Devon Crest Poultry, North Devon meat, Harris pies, Marshalls of Lamberhurst, Channel Meat, Church Farm Turkeys, B Thompson, AS Juniper, AJ Mills, John Silver, CR Barron, Tiverton Poultry, Belwood Foods. Solomon and Thompson also had Timber companies, Specialist Builders, Property, and TJ Poupart, the Bristol fruit & veg wholesale company. Weston Supermare Motors, a commercial vehicle company, including AD Forsey haulage, was bought from the Vestey Family's Union International when it went into liquidation.ref
  • ?date?: W Hermanns & Son Ltd, a poultry processing and distribution business, was acquired. PFF Old Co Ltd (Dec.2001); Premier Fresh Foods Ltd (May.1999); Premier Poultry Ltd (Apr.1992); Hermanns Poultry Ltd (Aug.1985); W. Hermanns & Son Ltd (Nov.1967); CH-00921417.
  • 1981: Lockwood Foods Ltd was acquired from the Receivers after it went bankrupt.
  • 1977: Electronic Locking Systems Ltd was acquired (75%). [AR-Dec.1977]
  • Jul.1976: Colloids (Widnes) Ltd was acquired (66.67%).
  • Jul.1975: Hillsdown Holdings Ltd: the company changed its name, after being taken over by Harry Solomon (a lawyer) and David Thompson (a meat trader). AR-Dec.1976
  • May.1970: Hillsdown Farms Ltd, incorporated as "Saldene Farmers Ltd" in Feb.1970, changed its name. CH
Additional Sources: Our History,
ToDo: Poultry Timeline, 1990-1999, Chivers Ireland, Typhoo timeline, Grace's Guide, T'graph Jan.31.1935, link, link, AR-1990: logo; [A/cs 1970-2020]

Ranks Hovis McDougall plc

  • Mar.2007: #Premier Foods plc acquired Ranks Hovis McDougall plc, which then ceased to exist as an independent entity.ref Brands: Atora, Busto, Be-Ro flour, Cerebos salt, Frank Cooper's jam, Hovis breaD and flour, McDougalls flour and cake mixed, Mother's Pride bread, Mr Kipling cakes, Paxo stuffing, Robertson's jam, Rombouts coffee, Saxa salt, Sharwood's Indian, Chinese and SE Asian sauces.
  • Jul.2005: Ranks Hovis McDougall plc was relisted on the London Stock Exchange by Doughty Hanson & Company.ref, ref
  • Jul.2000: Doughty Hanson & Company, an American private equity firm, bought Ranks Hovis McDougall from Tomkins plc.ref Brands: Hovis bread, Mother's Pride bread, McDougall flour, Bisto gravy, Saxa salt, Golden Shred marmalade.ref
  • Dec.1992: Tomkins plc bought Ranks Hovis McDougall Ltd, and delisted it from the London Stock Exchange.ref Tomkins plc sold off a number of RHM's non-core businesses, including bakery retail chain Three Cooks. Tomkins plcArchive-org-sm.svg
  • 1990: Cerebos Pacific Ltd: Ranks Hovis McDougall sold its 70% stake in the Asia and Australasia business to Suntory Holdings Ltd.ref,ref
  • Oct.1990: Quorn: Ranks Hovis McDougall exited by selling its share in the joint venture to its partner Imperial Chemical Industries. OpenCorporates-sm.svg
  • 1987: Avana Bakeries Ltd: ToDo: Avana Bakeries/Avana Group plc debacle
  • Jul.1984: Quorn: Ranks Hovis McDougall established a joint venture with Imperial Chemical Industries, which created the meat substitute product Quorn.ref
  • 1982: Scott's Porage Oats' holdco, A&R Scott, was sold to Quaker Oats.
  • 1981: Cerebos Pacific Ltd was formed; in 1982, it took over all Ranks Hovis McDougall subsidiaries in the Far East .ref
  • Jul.1968: Cerebos Ltd, maker of Bisto gravy, Sharwood's, Saxa salt, Paxo stuffing, Scott's Porage Oats, Atora suet, Brand's A1 Sauce,[3] was acquired.
  • 1962: Ranks Hovis McDougall Ltd: the Hovis-McDougall Company was acquired. Hovis-McDougall Company was created in 1957 through the merger of Hovis Bread Flour Company (est.1898), and McDougall Brothers (est.1864).ref
  • 1933: Ranks Ltd became a public corporation, and was listed on the London Stock Exchange.
  • May.1899: Joseph Rank Ltd: the business was incorporated as a private company.
  • 1885: Joseph Rank refined his milling techniques, building flour mills and establishing distribution agencies.
  • 1875: Joseph Rank founded a flour-milling business.
ToDo: Bird's custard from Kraft Foods, Crosse & Blackwell convenience foods, Desserts business of Unilever Bestfoods.

British Bakeries Ltd,,,
  • ?date?: Hovis. History
  • ?date?: Nimble.
  • 1955: British Bakeries was set up by Rank, Hovis, McDougall to counter the then dominance of Allied Bakeries (Sunblest) and ensure an outlet for their flour products.

Built from an amalgamation of several different independent plant bakers. Originally brought together by the McDougalls flour concern, and later joined the Rank Hovis flour milling business under the ownership of Ranks Hovis McDougall.
Mother's Pride, which had been sold in the North since at least 1936 (an advert appears for Mother's Pride bread produced by WJ Brookes & Sons, Bakers, Old Trafford, Manchester 16 in the 1935 "A Hundred Years of Road Passenger Transport in Manchester", published by Manchester Corporation Transport in that year), was marketed as a national brand by the new division in 1956. During the 1970s and 80s, it was a best-selling brand of white bread in the UK. (WP)

ToDo: British Bakeries HistoryArchive-org-sm.svg; Hovis, Mothers Pride, NimbleArchive-org-sm.svg


  • ^ Hicks, Muse buying a British Food Company. The New York Times, May.15.1999. Original archived on Nov.08.2012.