September 4, 2007 / 7:41 AM / 12 years ago

Premier Foods sees rivals following bread price hike

LONDON (Reuters) - Premier Foods (PFD.L) said on Tuesday it expected rival bread makers to follow an increase in bread prices it announced earlier in the day.

“We’ll be very surprised if general bread prices don’t go up because the pressures upon us all are the same, and we’re all driven by the enormous rise in wheat prices over the past year, by almost 100 percent,” Chief Executive Robert Schofield told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Schofield declined to say by how much Premier Foods had raised the price of its Hovis bread, but did say that a major retailer was increasing the price of a white loaf by 8 pence this morning.

Finance Director Paul Thomas also said that Premier Foods was comfortable with analysts’ range of profit forecasts, though he declined to say what that range was.

“The analysts have a range of projections out there and we’re comfortable with that range. We’re comfortable that our expectations are within that range,” he said.

Thirteen analysts polled by Reuters Estimates expect Premier Foods will make an underlying operating profit of between 258 million and 316 million pounds this year, with an average of 297 million.

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